Finding randomly installed apps on your phone? Blame it on ads

Ads are pretty annoying, and a lot of games and apps are packed full of advertisements rather than offering a paid alternative. However, users are now reporting that some ads can bypass the Google Play Store to install apps on your smartphone without your consent. This is bad for obvious reasons, and advertisements should never be able to escape their own sandbox to interact with the rest of the smartphone.

First disclosed on the /r/Androiddev subreddit, it turns out these particular ads are being served by Digital Turbine’s demand-side platform (DSP). A DSP in this context is a system that allows advertisers to purchase advertising with the help of automation.
On Android, system-level applications are able to access the package manager in order to install apps without asking for user permission. Typically, OEMs and the Google Play Store are the only apps that actually make use of that ability on Android smartphones, however, Digital Turbine’s software can also be installed on a …

Written By: Adam Conway

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