February 6, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Last week I said that mobile security companies should focus less on trying to scare users about malware, and spend more time plugging holes that Google isn’t addressing. Mobile security firm Lookout was apparently way ahead of me because it has released Push Ad Detector, a utility that determines which apps are advertising in your notifications menu.
Yes, notification ads are one of the most annoying things about Android, and they are increasing in popularity as more companies and developers start embracing it. We’ve covered how users can opt-out of AirPush, but that’s no longer the only company employing this practice. That’s why Push Ad Detector can prove useful to users looking to sniff out which apps are sending the ads, as well as how to make them stop.
Push Ad runs a scan of apps currently installed on a phone, searching for signs of known ad networks that advertise outside of the app. It then returns a list of apps with that capability and links users to a path to opt-out of those ads appearing again. At the moment, six known networks are detectable: Airpush, Appenda, LeadBolt, Moolah, Startapp, and TapIt!
This is the kind of thing that companies should be looking for. While technically not against the rules of the Android Market terms of service, this form of advertising is annoying. Anyone who has seen these ads pop-up can download the free beta of Push Ad Detector and put a stop to the practice.