TechBits: cell phone pop-ups (7.11.12) - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

TechBits: cell phone pop-ups (7.11.12)

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    Pop up ads are invading your electronics in bigger numbers.  That means many people may see them more on their smartphones.  Some of the ads are even able to change your settings and your bookmarks..and even take your contact information.
    But how does it happen? 
    Thousands of smart phone apps are powered by rogue advertising networks.  When you download the apps, you also get the advertisements.  You might not know it's happening, because the ads can be hard to spot.
    They can be in the form of a text message, an app icon, or even be embedded in notification bars that appear on-screen.
    For most people, it's not a huge problem.  Only about 5% of free apps use an aggressive ad network.  But the apps in that 5% have been downloaded more than 80 million times.
    The big thing to watch for is the type of app you download.  The rogue ads are typically found in personalization apps like phone wallpaper, and also in free entertainment apps.
    Just like with pop-up ads on your PC, malicious ads on apps are sometimes difficult to get rid of.  Fortunately, the problem can often be reversed by deleting an app.  Ufortunately, it's often hard to figure out which app is to blame.