It may not be long before your mobile phone is beset by the same sorts of obnoxious, screen-covering, scaremongering ads pimping security software that once inundated desktop users before pop-up blockers became widely-used.
Richard M. Smith, a Boston-based security consultant, was dining out last Friday and browsing a local news site with his Android-based smart phone when his screen was taken over by an alarming message warning of page errors and viruses. Clicking anywhere on the ad took him to a Web site peddling SnapSecure, a mobile antivirus and security subscription service that bills users $5.99 a month.
“This particular ad takes over the entire screen on my Android phone, so it gives the impression of being rather ominous,” Smith said, noting that it was the second time in as many days that he’d encountered the rogue ad. He further explained that the ad just appeared when he browsed to view a new story, and that he hadn’t clicked on an ad or anything unusual.
Michael Subhan, vice president of marketing for SnapSecure, said the company traced the ads back to some rogue marketing affiliates that have since been banned from its advertising program.
“We did find out which affiliate was serving up the ad, and they will be blacklisted from the network,” Subhan said. “We have strict advertising policies, and do not tolerate rogue affiliates. Unfortunately, with the volume of advertising that we do, there are sometimes affiliates that try and get around our guidelines.”