Pulser_G2 · Aug 6, 2013 at 04:30 pm

XDA and “Adware Apps”

Yesterday on the Portal, an app slipped through our usually rigorous processes of checking out anything that we feature. We try hard to ensure that nothing in any way unethical is featured, but on this occasion, one app managed to slip the net. The article, which was previously posted earlier, includes a form of an overly aggressive advertising network, known commonly by security software as “Plankton.”

While it seems the jury remains out on the precise taxonomy of this ad framework, and whether or not it is legitimate, it remains a fact that it is undesirable software, which is purposefully designed to be intrusive. There are more legitimate means of monetisation than this model of intrusive advertising, bordering on spying, and as such, we have removed the recommendation for this application, and replaced the article.

If you installed this app and want to get rid of it, please follow these instructions, which should remove any app which hasn’t made use of root permissions or an exploit. This app had root permissions, but we have seen no evidence it abused root access. The app itself appears legitimate, except for the external advertising library included. These instructions are fairly generic, and should work for any other app you want to remove.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps, and attempt to uninstall the application.
  2. If this fails, go to Settings > Security > Device Admin, and remove any undesirable applications from the device admin screen.
  3. Re-attempt uninstallation of the application
  4. Clean up your home screen of any unwanted shortcuts or icons for search tools (etc)
  5. Clean up any unwanted bookmarks in your browser.

While some may call this a legitimate monetisation technique, and some security software packages are becoming more lax on matters such as this, simply think back to the mid-2000s when adware was the big issue on PCs. Who recalls spending a long afternoon clearing a relative’s or friend’s PC of unwanted adware? For some reason, people view adware on Android and mobile platforms to be acceptable monetisation, but not on the PC platform.

Whatever your opinion, we regret having featured this app on the Portal due to the inherent risk of its ad framework.


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