Lookout: 1M U.S. Android owners have downloaded adware in past year

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More than 1 million U.S. consumers have downloaded adware to Android devices over the past 12 months, according to a new report issued by Lookout Mobile Security.

Lookout defines adware as ad networks that exhibit intrusive behavior without first securing appropriate user consent--e.g., displaying advertising outside of the normal app experience, harvesting personally identifiable information or initiating unexpected actions in response to ad clicks. New Lookout users in the U.S. face a 0.9 percent likelihood that adware is on their Android device, the firm said. New Lookout users across the globe face a 1.6 percent Android malware likelihood, higher than other mobile threats.

Approximately 6.5 percent of all free Android apps available for download from the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play digital storefront contain adware, Lookout said, acknowledging that the prevalence of adware in third-party app stores is dramatically higher. Adware is most commonly lurking inside personalization apps (26 percent), followed by racing games (23 percent) and sports games (18 percent).

Lookout is updating its Android security app to flag ad networks the firm classifies as adware. The expanded app is available for download from Google Play.

Thirty-nine percent of U.S. adult smartphone owners fail to take even minimal security measures according to Consumer Reports' Annual State of the Net survey, published last month. More than 1.6 million Americans have been fooled into installing what appeared to be a popular, brand-name app but was actually a malicious imposter--another 69 percent of smartphone users haven't backed up their data, including photos and contacts, and just 22 percent have installed software that could help locate their device in the event it's lost or stolen.  

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