Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watch Out for Mobile Adware Posing as Candy Crush Saga Apps

Candy Crush SagaThink twice before you download apps that claim to offer cheats or guidance for the popular matching game, Candy Crush Saga.

TrendMicro warns that ill-willed developers have started cashing in on the game's popularity by creating fake Candy Crush apps containing the code for the Leadbolt & AirPush ad networks.

AirPush and Leadbolt have gained quite a poor reputation for their “aggressive marketing practices,” which include placing ads to the notification/status bar, placing ad-enabled search icons on your mobile desk, and collecting user information.

Infact, these ad networks (and a few others) have become such a nuisance that developers & mobile security app vendors have released apps capable of detecting their presence so users can determine which apps are displaying ads on their device (and need to be removed).

TrendMicro’s mobile security app detects the AirPush & Leadbolt ad networks as ANDROIDOS_AIRPUSH.HRXV and ANDROIDOS_LEADBLT.HRY, respectively.

How to Avoid Candy Crush Saga-Themed Adware

As a fan of Candy Crush Saga, I can tell you that a large part of the game relies on luck, so those “cheats” and guides won’t be of much use since the candies aren’t laid out in a specific pattern.  You’ll have to figure it out on your own.

Aside from that, you can gauge the safety of an app by:

  • Check the number of downloads and the app’s rating.

  • Reading user reviews – usually users will spill the beans on what’s really going on with an app.

  • Do a little homework on the developer – i.e. Google their name and make sure there aren’t any red flags in the results.

  • Review the app permissions – sometimes the permissions can be hard to gauge (as some legitimate apps require odd permissions), but other times they can throw a big red flag. Either way, look them over and listen to your gut if something seems off.

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