Aggressive Mobile Adware aka Madware | The New Mobile Annoyance

If you own an Android phone, listen up.

Madware, or aggressive mobile adware, uses aggressive techniques to place advertising in your Android device’s photo albums, calendar entries and push messages to your notification bar. Madware can even go so far as to replace your ringtone with an ad.

Why should you care?

More and more kids are using smartphones and, as a result, at increased risk for encountering madware. According to a recent article from the Harvard Business Review as well as the PEW Research Center:
○ 6 percent of 2 to 5-year-olds have their own smartphone ○ 50 percent of 11 year olds have their own cellphone ○ 23 percent of teens have a smartphone

But you can put a stop to madware.

madware infographic

According to Norton research

  • 24 percent of all free apps make money by displaying ads, an increase of 31 percent from nine months ago.
  • Forty-nine percent of all free apps that display ads within the app use madware.
  • Apps that include madware grew by 210 percent from nine months ago.
  • Norton noticed a 50 percent increase in total permissions required by free gaming apps over the past year. This means, for example, that apps are more frequently collecting location coordinates, allowing SMS messages to be sent without consent and installing desktop shortcuts.
  • The average app contains two ad networks but some contain as many as 17.
  • Lesser known apps can bring big madware annoyances. Less popular apps (less than 250,000 installs) are 135 percent more likely to contain the worst forms of madware.
  • Top 10 madware offenders uninstalled by Norton Spot (as of 11/7/12):
    ○ BrightestFlashlightFree ○ Sam’sClub ○ Zedge ○ Assistant
    ○ TuneInRadio ○ AngryBirds ○ Flashlight ○ MusicParadise ○ AngryBirdsSpace

Norton Spot is an ad blocker, detector, killer and stopper. Scan advertising networks that spam your device via apps you install. Identify apps that don’t respect your privacy and remove them. Monitor for intrusive alerts and block aggressive mobile advertising (madware) practices, including apps that constantly push ads to your notification bar, create unauthorized desktop shortcuts, and secretly collect your personal information. It spots madware so you can decide whether to keep it. Download Norton Spot for free.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Norton. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.


  1. Great to know! We’re getting Androids for Christmas so I’ll definitely look into this Norton product.

  2. Gina Brickell says

    So, this only applies to Android phones? So glad I don’t have an andriod anymore!! Although, it’s almost the way of the world now. They have Ads on absolutely EVERYTHING nowadays.. From cars to apps to mobile devices now.. it’s getting ridiculous!

  3. Wow! I bet it won’t be long and it will hit the other cell phones as well. Thanks for the information, I am going to pass this one on.

  4. marc Daniel says

    yah..this is all true!

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