Tim Armstrong

I really like the new app by OMGPOP called Draw Something. I play this game with my friends possibly a little too much. Draw Something has attracted more than 50 million downloads, and was just acquired by Zynga for $200 million dollars. It was surprising the other day when I noticed an advertisement at the bottom of the screen for a battery optimizer app. In fact, it even told me two upgrades were available!

I would like to take this moment to reiterate that your mobile browser can’t scan your phone’s battery. I would also like to mention that if there was such a thing as a battery upgrade through software, every carrier would likely try to provide this, or at least sell it to you.

I followed the advertising link, knowing that this is too good to be true. It’s interesting how they chose a style and font similar to Facebook here:

I was then taken through a survey about my phone

These were all obvious questions.

Finally on the last page we’re told to “verify” our handset. What does this verification do? Well it doesn’t verify anything about your battery.

Following the directions on this page signs you up for a text alert service that charges $9.99 a month!

It will even offer to dial for you!

Wait, where is my battery upgrade? It’s never mentioned again. This is a simple bait and switch scam.

Please be very careful of the advertisements you follow within your favorite apps. I enjoy many of these apps as well, and I like to see the developers making money for their creations. However, this type of advertising will only give people a bad feeling about your app.

If you would like to support an app developer, consider buying the paid version, if it’s available. If many of these advertisements seem too good to be true, that’s because they often are. Use your best judgment to avoid being ripped off.

*Tim Armstrong is a Malware Researcher at Kaspersky Lab

Categories: Mobile Security

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous

    And you continue to PLAY “Draw Something?”  You didn’t fire off a note to them telling them where they could put the game and anything else they every produce?  Gee.  I wonder why these kinds of “ads” continue to show up in software?

  2. Anonymous

    To the above poster…

    Why? How will this help an app that is new? How will this help someone who is dupped by the add? It won’t. Not to mention ti is most likely not the devs fault as they ust add a marketing company’s add module to their app and the advertisements are the work of that third party.

    Holding the add company resonsible for their deceptive advertising practices and placing appropriate regulation is the only solution.

  3. JoshCinGTX

    I agree with the previous Anonymous poster.  You can’t just stop using Apps because of the ads that are displayed.  The ads themselves aren’t dangerous.  People just need to be aware that ads displayed within an App are actually ADS and not System Notifications or Upgrade Notifications.  Personally, I ignore all in-app Ads.  I never pay any attention to any of them.  The only “notifications” that I accept are those that appear in my notification bar where they are supposed to be.

  4. Anonymous

    I  Was already wondering wicht app produced this add(it showed in my status bar for about twice a day)now i Know i did uninstall drawsomething.
    i have no problems with in app advertising, but what i dont like is adds who trick you into spending money (whitout any products beeing offered)

  5. Anonymous

    Remember the ads are on the free version only.  If you purchase the software, they remove the ads.

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