The technology that we now have within our devices has come a long way since we first began. We can now use our phones and tablets to do things that only computers were once able to do. Of course, in our modern age of high tech, our various devices run the risk of being vulnerable to cyber attacks when not meticulously secured. Many of our current devices operate with applications, which are individual programs that can run within the device, and these can contain vulnerabilities or exploits of their own as well. Some of the exploits that these apps can deliver into devices can be extremely malicious, whereas others may just be annoying or inconvenient.
One type of these is adware, which is script that is installed on an individual’s device and then barrages them with various ads. The specific methods of these can vary, but the end goal is to forcefully display ads to the individual. Generally, most apps within the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store are quite safe. Both of these app marketplaces have quite rigorous verification and review processes that apps go through before they are approved and available on the store. But, they do not necessarily catch everything, meaning some apps containing these adware scripts can make it through and be downloaded by people.
These types of malware are placed in apps for a number of reasons. First off, it is a simple way for the creators to get their script into user’s devices without it being detected. And secondly, because the user is having these ads displayed to them, the creator is getting paid for it. So all in all, it comes down to being able to make large amounts of money by forcefully displaying these ads to large numbers of people. In addition, the ads could contain links to malicious sites or downloads that could do further damage.
A Current Issue
There is one particular library that has been quite a prominent issue most recently. It had been discovered that the library, called App/MarsDae-A, was contained in about 50 apps that are on the Google Play store. When one of the apps containing this library is installed on an individual’s device, it begins to continuously pop up ads on the user’s device, even when the user force quits the app. It is not just within the app, but rather, the ads will even pop up directly on the user’s device background. When the user attempts to force quit the app to stop the ads, it essentially restarts itself, and the ads will come right back. It basically operates by two different processes piggybacking off of each other. Each process will monitor the other and their respective created files, and if one process notices that the other is not running, it will create another to run and restart it. In this way, it perpetuates itself and the ads.
Keeping Yourself Safe From Adware
There are several different ways to avoid these types of applications getting onto your device. One of the easiest ways is to look at reviews. Typically, people that have already had these types of issues with the app will report it within the reviews, as this way, others can see it and avoid the app. In addition, never download an app when it is first put onto an app marketplace unless it is from a known safe developer. It is better to wait a few days to see if any negative reviews are posted. Apps that are reported for this type of behavior are typically removed from the store, so if it is gone after a few days, it was likely not safe.