The most popular apps in application stores are always the ones that advertisers target, trying to get their ads to appear within those apps. It makes sense, because if you want higher conversion rates, then you go to where the traffic is. Now, what would happen if as an advertiser or a brand, you spend a good chunk of change for advertisements within a certain app, and it just vanishes suddenly, disappearing without warning? Well, that is why it’s a good reason to examine an app more thoroughly than to just find out how much traffic it gets. Only a reliable application will lead you to incredible performance marketing results.
The reason this is coming up now is that according to a recent report by TrendMicro, Google’s Android has been experiencing various problems with malicious apps lately. The company’s report says that there have been just about 5,000 apps for Android that are malicious, and that was just in the first quarter of 2012. At the end of the second quarter of the year, this number had reached ridiculous levels of 20,000. The number has grown so fast that in just one month, it went from 10,000 to 20,000. 10,000 malicious apps is far too many, let alone 20,000. However, most of these apps are the less popular ones, that may have gotten one or two downloads at the most.
What’s more shocking is the number of malicious apps that TrendMicro reported that were actually featured in Google’s official Google Play store. With 17 apps in the Google Play store being reported as malicious, how can we be confident about any app that we advertise on? You may think that the application that get the most hits or downloads are the safe ones, but TrendMicro reported that each of these applications were downloaded over 700,000 times at the time of their removal. TrendMicro writes, “As ever, criminals want to make money out of their victims by tricking them into using premium rate services or viewing mobile ads; stealing sensitive data; or even turning their phones into part of a botnet.”
Hackers are tricky, and they find many creative, original ways of screwing people over. TrendMicro reports even more bad news by saying, “The most common type of malicious app – accounting for 30 per cent of all those Trend Micro encountered – is a type, which is disguised as a highly popular legitimate app.” So how is an advertiser, or even Google itself, supposed to find out which apps are malicious and which are not? There needs to be a new way of weeding these apps out, or else advertisers will begin to lose money on prospects that seem reliable, but end up robbing them blind. Apple has only had one reported case of malware within their App store, which was just recently reported by Kaspersky Lab. So, Android may be outselling Apple by far, but Apple may soon prove to be a more reliable and trustworthy platform for advertising. Android’s protection against malicious applications just has not reached the level that it should be at.