HummingBad: The Latest Example of the Failure of Mobile Advertising

It seems like we drive home the same argument week after week. We’ve mentioned the lack of safety and protection for consumers in mobile advertising several times now. Malware has been able to infiltrate ad networks run by Google, Yahoo, and more, and there has yet to have been a significant investigation into fixing them. We now know that more than just hackers are committing foul play on these networks.

The HummingBad malware virus is running on almost 85 million devices worldwide since its discovery in February, and a Chinese advertising agency is behind its creation. Yingmob, a group of cybercriminals that work alongside an advertising agency, generate $300,000 a month in fraudulent revenue. By utilizing that agency’s resources, they are able to gain control of thousands of devices each day. With a consistent stream of money, these hackers can further develop HummingBad to be even more effective. They can compartmentalize devices to run attacks or sell information they gather.

All of this info is made available by Check Point, who recently released an impressive report titled “From HummingBad to Worse.” HummingBad essentially takes control of a user’s device and installs hundreds of applications on the device, many of which are malicious. The apps serve up to 20 million ads a day, practically robbing advertising networks of money. For more technical details on how the malware affects Google Play, host files, and more, download Check Point’s report.

We’re at the point where malvertising should be a legitimate concern for any demographic on Android. Millions of people around the globe are at risk. HummingBad is able to log financial and personal info. People’s’ livelihoods are at stake. Will this be the kick in the ribs for advertisers and ad networks to do something besides offer platitudes?

To remain safe from advertisers on your Android device, download AdClear. It’s free, and it blocks encrypted ads, noted for being a hotbed for malware. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

About SEVEN Networks

SEVEN Networks software solutions 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.
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