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Lately, I’ve been getting quite a few spam text messages on both of my phones. It’s so annoying, but I chalked it up to being “one of those things”… someone somehow gaining access to my numbers. Yanno, the usual. What didn’t occur to me in the midst of my app happy downloading, that one of them could potentially be exploiting my phone.


As an Android user, my devices are at risk of Madware, or aggressive mobile adware, which uses aggressive techniques to place advertising in Android device’s photo albums, calendar entries and push messages. Madware can even go so far as to replace ringtone with an ad. Madware gains access to personal information, location, settings, and frequently delivers advertising inappropriately.



In the past nine months, Apps that include madware grew by 210%. Madware has been linked to common apps like Angry Birds, TV Guide, and Flashlight. You’d think that the apps by independent developers would cause the most headache, but you have to watch out for big brands too. Norton helps target madware risks with their new Norton Spot app for Android. It runs a quick scan and identifies apps that could potentially cause harm. I was shocked to see how many apps were spotted after running a scan. So many of them from well-known companies.

madware infographic

It’s nice to have a tool to help me weed out the potential bad guys. In the future though, I’d like to see how much of a threat the apps are… if they are actually the cause of any spam I’m receiving. Maybe some expert reviews of the apps explaining why they are collecting data etc. I’d hate to unistall an app that I need just because Norton thought it was “annoying”.

I will attempt to replace/delete some of the apps that have been spotted, others I will use with some discretion. I’ll also be more careful about the apps that I choose to download. It’s so easy to be careless with downloads being accessible within a few finger taps. That instant gratification can do more harm than good.

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

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