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Bogus ad network marks new twist on Android malware

Antone Gonsalves | April 24, 2013
The BadNews ad framework fooled Google Play for weeks, sending fake update notifications for apps such as Skype

New generations of ad frameworks for Android smartphone apps are increasingly violating user privacy by using personal information without permission, a recent report by Trend Micro showed. Profit is the primary motive behind unethical data-gathering practices by ad networks.

Bitdefender believed BadNews dates back as far as June 2012, but did not start distributing malware until months later. Cybercriminals behind the scheme appeared to take a cautious approach, conducting malicious activity only every two days or so.

Future variants of BadNews could eventually find their way to Europe and the United States, experts said. A malicious ad framework could be used in those regions for distributing spyware or for click fraud.

"Technically, there's no limit," Arsene said.


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