Lookout will intercept privacy-invading mobile ad networks, apps

The company gave mobile developers and advertisers 45 days to conform to its list of best privacy and security practices

By Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service |  Security

Whether aggressive ad networks will actually adopt Lookout's best practices in order to avoid being flagged as adware remains to be seen. The company claims that its products are used by 30 million smartphone users.

However, Lookout is not the only mobile security company that has noticed the increase in mobile adware and is taking a stance against it. Bitdefender, which offers a free antivirus product for Android devices, is also intercepting as adware those apps that use aggressive advertising and data collection practices.

"It's going to take a collective effort from both Google and mobile antivirus vendors to change privacy-invading practices, as intrusive adware will become even more widespread in the future," Liviu Arsene, security researcher at Bitdefender, said Monday via email. "While best practices for developers have also been issued by Google, a more hands-on approach would be interesting to see. Either by issuing 'trusted' certification for known and popular ad frameworks or by analyzing apps with more scrutiny from a privacy standpoint, the issue needs to be addressed."

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