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

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Block YouTube ads with AdClear

As an ad blocker, YouTube is the heavyweight champion of advertising. Since video ads are the most effective, Google puts significant time and resources into ensuring that end users see these ads. These video ads are encrypted and shown on any video, regardless of length. So the effectiveness of these ads relies very little on user enjoyment.

AdClear prides itself on blocking YouTube ads. Our Advanced Protection was the first of its kind for non-rooted Android users. As other apps adopt our model, YouTube becomes more aware of ads being blocked. In the past few months, the certificate has seemed to work under fewer conditions. With the multitude of apps and browsers with which to visit YouTube, there are a similar amount of methods with which to deliver video ads. Users of YouTube apps, especially, have found our certificate to be inconsistent. No longer.

Our programming team has recently found a breakthrough way to block ads on YouTube across all platforms. Users will notice consistent performance from AdClear. The average amount of time spent on YouTube for mobile users is around forty minutes. Our goal is to ensure that you see zero video ads each session. YouTube is sure to fight back, but we are committed to improving upon this feature in the coming weeks. We’re excited to offer our users an ad-free experience.

AdClear is available to download for free from our website. We also recently released AdClear Lite for Safari and Samsung Browser. Stay tuned for more updates!

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin

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Red Herring: Ad Blockers Aren’t Harming the Rampant Growth of Digital Advertising

It’s pretty much confirmed at this point that advertisers are crying wolf. The debate has always been centered around reduced profits as a result of ad blocker adoption, but that loss appears to be exaggerated.

We like to use the latest published research in our articles, and this is no different. Juniper Research has found that digital ad spending will exceed 285 billion dollars by 2020. For a more than 20% annual increase, advertisers sure seem worried about ad blockers. This is whitewashing, plain and simple. At every public conference, advertisers acknowledge their malicious practices while calling ad blockers a brash response.

Meanwhile, content deliverers continue to combat ad blockers, and advertisers are continuing to offer no solutions. Why should they? From their point of view, they’re raking in cash, and they seem more than willing to hedge their bets on pro-business capitalist sentiment. And that’s honestly a smart move; though privacy concerns have become more mainstream, those willing to take action are still the minority.

The fault isn’t on the user, though. Breakthroughs in user targeting are supposed to be the boon to growth advertisers are expecting. That means even more tracking than the near-hundreds that litter some of the most popular sites. With advertisers acknowledging that ads need to be rethought and less invasive, look for buzzwords like “rich media” and “simple formats” to guise the same behavior most vilify.

While we continue to wear the title of “bad guys” with honor, join the dark side and download AdClear on your Android phone. We also recently released AdClear Lite for Safari and Samsung Browser. We will continue to protect our users from nefarious tactics they have little say in.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin

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Why Denying the Reasons Behind Ad Blocking Exacerbates the Problem

Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times, recently said that “No one who refuses to contribute to the creation of high quality journalism has the right to consume it.” Thompson says that the Times will resort to blocking all ad blocking users if necessary. This falsely dichotomous stance has taken hold of most content providers, as they feel that they are victims. My bone to pick isn’t about their stance (it’s hardly unexpected)but rather their refusal of ambiguity. Ad blocking will, without question, cause the Times to lose money. Consumers, however, continue to lose their privacy, safety, and time to internet advertising. Woe is me will not be received well by an audience that is manipulated just to read the news.

We’ve mentioned Forbes’ paywall use and malware attacks previously. Try visiting their mobile site without an ad blocker; the amount of ads is preposterous. Not one content provider has taken steps to prevent malware from being in their advertisements, and sites like Forbes continue to employ ad tactics that can accidentally cause consumers to click on them.

Thompson seems to believe high quality journalism can exist across a literal background of ads that are fraudulent, infected with malware, or just generally annoying. When a high-profile establishment makes a rallying cry against ad blockers, they’re eschewing facts and recent history. None of these calls for pity make mention of their fragile security, tracking tactics, or low-brow advertisers. Abandoning the truth isn’t going to convince a base of mostly tech savvy people to change their actions. Perhaps this is known by the Times, which means this type of move is due to a perceived stubbornness in ad blocker users. The truth is that ad blocker adoption is a decision based in reality, and responses that don’t account for the whole truth will be rightfully scoffed at. Try again.

While this crying fit persists for the foreseeable future, you’ll probably want to block ads on your phone. Mobile phones are the new frontier for advertisers, and they’re trying to milk their profits while they last. AdClear is available for free on Android from our website. There is also the new AdClear Lite browser extension for Safari and the Samsung browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin

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Users Want Free Ad Blocking on Mobile Phones

Besides paywalls, many content providers are offering users the ability to pay for an ad-free experience. These responses to ad blockers continue to defy public perception. As reported by TUNE, close to 75% of smartphone users wouldn’t pay a dollar annually to avoid ads in all of their apps.

Could this mean that the negative feelings toward digital ads have wavered? Hardly. Pagefair reports that mobile ad blocking use is outpacing predictions from just last year. This seems to be all about money. As a service, ad blockers are a direct response to an unregulated business that keeps the “customer” at their mercy. Ad blocker users don’t see themselves as customers rather than consumers. The marked difference is that there was never a charge before. The advertising model is one that consumers never had a say in. They don’t want to have to spend money to shed light on this parasitic relationship.

That sentiment extends to ad blockers. There are several different business models in the industry currently. AdClear remains free for users through our analytical business model. Over the past few months, AdClear’s become a completely different product through the introduction of features like language filters, malware protection, and a whitelist. These changes have all come at no cost to the user, and we stay engaged with them when prioritizing updates. Over time, AdClear will continue to refine itself into what our users want. As of now, it’s clear they just want the ads gone at no cost.

AdClear is available to download for free from our website.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin

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What’s new in AdClear

Over the past month we’ve made some major changes to AdClear. The most important is our addition of language filters. We are now able to block ads in a variety of languages, including:


There is also a Privacy list that blocks cookies and trackers. These additions have globalized AdClear, helping billions of people around the world block ads. Just last month, we had over fifteen thousand downloads, and the numbers continue to increase.

Changes of this magnitude require meticulous testing to ensure everything works properly. That is why we’ve launched the new AdClear Beta program. Beta testing helps us fix bugs while allowing users the chance to try out new builds prior to release. Our dedicated user base has helped make the program a success, but we’re always looking for more testers. If you’d like to sign up, just follow this link.

We have much more to share in the future, such as increased malware protection. Our team is committed to improve upon AdClear and make it the best ad blocker for Android devices. Stay tuned for more.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin

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Sites Currently Detecting Ad Blockers are Breaking European Law

Sites that detect ad blockers are considered to be breaking European Union law. Though detecting and preventing ad blocker users from accessing content is fine, detecting an ad blocker is a request for user information. Requesting personal information requires getting permission first. Article 5.3 of the ePrivacy Directive makes it clear that gaining information stored in the equipment of a user is allowed on the condition of consent, and they’ve recently clarified that this extends to ad blocking scripts. This is a big deal for the upwards of 500 million people this law covers.

These scripts are spreading like wildfire. It’s possible that a significant portion of the law are breaking the law, and ad blocker users could possibly be able to sue over this breach of privacy. Whether sites will be punished under these circumstances is questionable as of now, but it only proves how little advertisers care about the agency of internet users.

The fear, uncertainty, and doubt campaign against ad blockers is only to turn frustration away from these practices. There still is no solution for the malware that is taking over ad networks, and the absurdity of its existence has yet to enter public consciousness. Foul play will only be able to continue for so long, and once the EU courts come into play, we may see worldwide changes in how ads are served.

Before any future actions are taken in the European Union, it’s a good idea to install an ad blocker. We’re proud to announce that AdClear now supports easy lists for several other languages, like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Polish, and German. These lists allow users to block ads that are native to these languages. If you want to block the ads these sites feel the need to protect, download AdClear from our website. You might get some settlement money, too!

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