What is Malvertising?

Forbes recently published their popular annual “30 UNDER 30” article. In order to read the article, online visitors with ad blockers installed were prompted to turn them off. Those that did were immediately hit with a malware attack to install a fake Java update. This is known as malvertising, and it’s becoming a serious threat.
Malvertising’s rise cannot be understated. From June 2014 to February 2015, the amount of malware served by advertising networks tripled (via Cyphort). Many of these instances involved top 100,000 Alexa sites. For perspective, the sites in the 99,000-100,000 range regularly have 5,000 or more daily visitors. A well-crafted attack could cataclysmically devastate the internet.

Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo’s Gemini platforms have both allowed malicious advertisers in. The Angler exploit kit, the latest to gain notoriety, got onto the Yahoo, MSN, and DailyMail websites among others. Over 7 billion visitors of these sites were at risk. This may sound like a one-and-done type of issue, but the Nuclear, Magnitude, and Fiesta exploit kits have also used malvertising to infect computers. Obviously, there is a glaring problem with online advertising networks that has no solution in sight.

Seven’s AdClear nullifies this threat for Android users. Our patented VPN keeps advertisers from being present while browsing the web or using applications. Encrypted ads, the source of most malicious attacks, are kept away by our SSL certificate. AdClear users know that they have protection against such viral ad infections. AdClear is available to download completely free from our website – https://www.seven.com/android-adblocker-download

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Why you should use an Ad Blocker

Advertisements are deemed a necessary evil by most; through enduring advertisements, the sites we visit make money to remain free to use. It seems logical, but this transaction isn’t so cut-and-dried. Instead of just taking up space, ads are learning about the user with each site they visit. Imagine if newspapers knew what the reader was looking at and not being able to turn a page without reading ads. No one would read it. Applying this same perspective to online advertisements should make any reasonable person concerned, yet only 6% of online users use an ad blocker.

When someone visits a site, they’re agreeing to let that site’s code run on his or her computer. In actuality, the advertiser’s code is also allowed through, and it does much more than display ads. Data on the visitor’s browsing history, interests, and purchases are mined. As more data is collected, the ads configure themselves to appeal to the “you” it creates. The device owner is offered no choice in allowing this extra code to run. This is by no means a fair exchange. Under this arrangement, users’ privacy and protection erodes. Ads are notorious for installing spyware and malware within their code. Infected computers could leave users prone to fraudulent schemes like ransomed file access or identity theft. It’s obvious that the user is at too great of a risk to accept these practices.

The new frontier for advertisers is the mobile market. Mobile browsing is beginning to take up a sizable portion of overall internet usage. Advertisers are able to exploit this popularity in a similar manner, with additional opportunities to exploit users in applications. Users have been slower to address these exploits; Pagefair found only 1.6% of its adblocking traffic came from mobile devices during a quarter. This leaves mobile devices as sitting ducks, which is why SEVEN Networks developed AdClear.

AdClear’s patented technology filters out advertisements via an onboard VPN. This keeps AdClear from slowing down internet connections while saving users’ battery life and data. Our optional SSL certificate blocks encrypted advertisements, which most ad blockers cannot stop. This protection extends to applications as well. The greatest reason to use AdClear, though, is that it’s available for free from our website – https://www.seven.com/android-adblocker-download  . There are no trials, subscriptions, or hidden fees.

AdClear users can rest assured that no one can access their data. If that were to occur, the data accessed would be indecipherable gibberish to the reader. SEVEN does collect anonymous data (such as device, operating system, and battery percentage) in order to improve and maintain AdClear. That data is encrypted and uploaded via a closed network; it can’t be read by a human or accessed by anyone outside. For more details visit our AdClear FAQ and Privacy Policy.

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SEVEN AdClear blocks annoying ads on the web!

AdClear is an ad blocker that blocks ads in-apps and on any browser including Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Android and Internet Explorer.

If you want an ad blocker for your Android Phone, download Seven’s AdClear by following this link: http://www.seven.com/mobile-app.php

AdClear works on Android devices only via WiFi or cellular network and does not require any type of proxy configuration to work.  Currently you can download AdClear through the Amazon Store.  There are three steps required to download and install AdClear on your Android device.

Step 1: Download and install the Amazon App Store.Amazon-download

Step 2: Download and install AdClear from the Amazon App Store.

Step 3: Activate the VPN on AdClear.

Download AdClear: https://www.seven.com/android-adblocker-download

SEVEN Networks develops innovative software solutions that deliver device-centric mobile traffic management and analytics for wireless carriers. Extending control from the network to the mobile client gives operators the power to manage and optimize data traffic before it impacts the network. Device-based analytics offer deeper and timelier insight than solutions that are solely network based. SEVEN’s Open Channel products reduce operator costs, increase efficiency in the use of wireless infrastructure, and enhance end-user experience. They bring immediate capacity relief to overloaded networks, simplify the creation of innovative new service plans, and provide actionable intelligence for mobile carriers.

SEVEN was founded in 2000 and is now based in Marshall, Texas. The company has a proven track record of success in the mobile arena, with over three hundred patents and patents pending. It has extensive expertise integrating software both on devices and in networks, and has deep knowledge of the behavior of mobile apps and their impact on wireless networks. Its offerings have earned extensive industry recognition, including a GSMA Technology Breakthrough Award in 2011 and a Mobile Merit Award in 2013.

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Open Channel For Everyone

Until now, Open Channel’s benefits were made available through mobile operators and smartphone manufacturers. They certainly benefit enormously from the traffic and battery optimization, but we always thought we can do better, and one day bring Open Channel available for everyone.

Today is that day.

We wanted to bring a unique set of features that benefit you personally, as an end user. And we didn’t stop in extending the battery life. Open Channel helps you control your data usage, stands between you and the companies attempting to track your privacy, and tracks the quality of your online experience for you. We hope you will find these useful!

EXTEND YOUR BATTERYBattery Savings 1
Many apps use the network and drain battery in the    background. As you use your phone, we show how much they affect your battery life and how much Open Channel extends it for you. Open Channel’s smart algorithms work in the background to increase standby battery life.

CONTROL YOUR MOBILE DATA USAGEData 1
Open Channel provides unique views and controls to your data usage for each application and type of data, including videos and images. Open Channel helps you understand how you use mobile data and control the usage. Use the “Set Data Plan” feature to track your data usage and the “Set Limits” feature to avoid overage charges.

PROTECT YOUR PRIVACYPrivacy 1
Many companies track your activity online without your consent. Open Channel can block these trackers to protect your privacy.

QUALITY OF EXPERIENCEQuality of Experience 1
Open Channel monitors the quality of your online experience and reports it back to you on a map to highlight where your experience is good and where it is not. As we gather data from more users, you will be able to compare your experience to others.

Open Channel is now available for Android smartphones from Google Play, free of charge.

Get it on Google Play

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Smartphone Battery Life: The Impact of the Device Radio

Even with ongoing improvements in battery technology, many mobile phone users remain less than satisfied with the battery life of their devices. When a device cannot make it through a full day without needing to be recharged, this can result in a significant inconvenience for the mobile user.

It is common knowledge that a smartphone’s display consumes large amounts of energy and therefore has a significant impact on battery life. Less well-known is the “silent killer” of battery life: energy consumption by the device radio. We have found that for typical users, the radio can account for between one-third and two-thirds of battery use. What’s more, much of the radio activity draining the battery occurs when the user is not actively using the device. (This is in contrast to battery consumption by the screen, since the screen being on correlates strongly with active use). Many of the most popular applications continue to interact with the network to receive updates when the screen is off. These background interactions result in frequent device connections that cause the radio to remain in a higher energy state.

To illustrate the impact of connections and time connected on battery life, here is a plot of current draw in milliamps (mA) over time as a device connected to an actual LTE network: connection-chart1 The brief, smaller spikes are the result of the device synchronizing with the network, which occurs at intervals of about a second and a quarter. These smaller spikes have a short duration, so they do not have a significant effect on overall battery use.

The device connection is the large period of increased energy draw in the middle of the chart. We can clearly see that immediately prior to initiation of the network connection at approximately 2836 seconds, the average current draw is negligible. As soon as the connection is initiated, the current draw jumps up to more than 300 mA, and subsequently drops down to roughly 180 mA until the connection is dropped at 2852 seconds.

From this example we can see that the current draw when the device is connected averages about 200 mA, compared to about 4 mA when the device is not connected. This indicates that a device connection causes the battery to drain fifty times faster than it does in the idle state. Another way of looking at this is that one second of connection time is equivalent to fifty seconds in the “not connected”, or “standby” state. Our tests also show that time connected has a much stronger effect on battery drain than the number of device connections.

These results parallel those presented by Google as part of their Android L feature announcement at the Google I/O developers’ conference. They examined the battery impact of several scenarios in which a device wakes up from an idle state, involving the screen, the radio, and/or the CPU. Their research showed that for every second that a device is active, standby time is reduced by a full two minutes. This 120-1 ratio is consistent with our results, given that their tests included scenarios where the screen was on.

The significance of all of this is that device connections happen frequently during the day, most of them the result of background activity created by chatty mobile apps. To the degree that we can reduce the number and duration of device connections, we can both relieve signaling congestion in the network and extend device battery life. Our traffic optimization technology is able to do this without adversely impacting end-user experience.

Posted in Longer Battery Life, Mobile Technology, Network Congestion, Smartphone battery life, Traffic Optimization, Unnecessary Signaling | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Measuring Mobile Traffic Optimization: Connections and Time Connected

Signaling messages occur at a deep layer in the network, and therefore are not directly observable. This means that we must rely on other metrics to determine the efficacy of technologies for optimizing mobile traffic with respect to signaling activity. Those metrics should correspond directly to the network resources that are overburdened by the excessive background traffic generated by chatty mobile apps.

For today’s blog we will focus on two related measures: the number of connections and time connected. Let’s define what we mean by these terms. First, it’s important to note that when we say “number of connections” we mean device connections rather than application connections. Specifically, a connection occurs when the device radio moves from idle (lowest radio power state) to connected (higher power state), triggered by a network transaction when the radio is idle. Once the device is connected, multiple network transactions can occur as long at the radio remains in a connected state. Similarly, “time connected” means total time during which a device radio remains in the connected state, and is therefore occupying network capacity.

Each time a device connects to the network, it is using up signaling capacity as the network processes the request. Too many devices trying to connect at once can overwhelm the network’s ability to process these requests. Each device connection results in multiple signaling messages, so the number of connections and time connected serve as useful proxies for the volume of signaling activity – which as we said, cannot be observed directly. It should be noted that the ratio between signaling messages and connections varies depending upon the underlying network technology.

The key thing to remember about “number of connections” and “time connected” as metrics is that they correspond directly to the benefit derived by mobile carriers when they deploy Open Channel Traffic Optimization. These measures allow us to effectively track the ability of the software to ease the burden on critical network resources, thus helping mobile carriers to achieve greater network efficiency and lower infrastructure costs.  Specifically, measuring the difference in the number of connections and time connected with and without the software activated allows us to quantify its impact.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering how effective Open Channel Traffic Optimization is at reducing the number of connections and time connected. To discover the answer, we invite you to download our new white paper, titled “Open Channel Traffic Optimization Carrier Field Trial Results”.

Incidentally, there is also a strong causal relationship between the amount of time that the device spends in a connected state and battery consumption.  We will discuss that relationship in a future blog post.

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The Results Are In: Carrier Trials Prove Effectiveness of Open Channel Traffic Optimization

SEVEN Networks conducts trials with mobile operators to demonstrate the effectiveness of our Open Channel Traffic Optimization software. A new white paper presents results from recent trials publicly for the first time.

The trial results confirmed what we knew all along: that Open Channel Traffic Optimization substantially lightens the mobile signaling load on carrier networks and reduces bandwidth consumption. It also significantly extends battery life. To provide someMobile-Traffic-Optimization-Trial-Results hard data around this, on average battery life was 17% longer for devices on which
the software was optimizing mobile data traffic. Two other important optimization metrics showed results that were even more favorable – by a wide margin. To see the full results, please download the white paper (registration required.)

The white paper outlines the trial methodology, defines the metrics used, and provides trial results for six carriers. The trials are designed to help each carrier understand the results that the software can deliver in a full-scale production deployment. Trial users are typically selected from among the carrier’s own employees, and they are instructed to use the phone as if it were their own. SEVEN Networks does not require or request that specifics apps be installed (or not installed), which ensures unbiased results.

Trials consist of a baseline period and an optimization period, each usually lasting about a week. During the baseline period, the software is present on the device, but the optimization functionality is turned off. During the second period, the optimization functionality is activated. By comparing metrics across the two periods, we are able to measure the benefits of the software.

The carriers involved in the trials span three continents – North America, Europe, and Asia – and they have diverse profiles in terms of size, network technology, app mix, and user behavior. The fact that the results were so consistently positive indicates that the product will have a positive impact in a wide variety of carrier environments.

For a full description of these exciting results, we invite you to download the white paper.

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