Welcome!

News Feed Item

Growth-Hacked by your own Phone? The latest apps that could turn you into a spammer

AdaptiveMobile, the world leader in mobile security, today called out a growing, aggressive form of viral marketing, used by many of the latest app developers, that is starting to pose an increasing concern for many subscribers, with complaint figures on the rise. This form of growth hacking, as it is known, is where a user-installed app will request to notify or invite the user’s contact list of the new game or service by SMS. Well-known examples of current apps using this technique include Glide, Meow and Secrets.

While the aim of this approach is to increase the app’s user base as much as possible, mobile operators are seeing these app-generated invites occupy a higher and higher percentage of spam being received by their subscribers. During an in-depth two-week study, over 20 popular social networking, communications and community-playing apps all generated varying degrees of customer complaints as a result of app growth hacking. Subscribers who install the most aggressive apps found it very difficult to avoid texting their contact lists about the service, due to the app design.

“Growth Hacking can be a valid marketing tactic when implemented responsibly,” said Cathal McDaid, Head of Security Operations at AdaptiveMobile. “But apps need to implement ‘ethical’ growth hacking, by ensuring there is an easy way for users to opt out of apps accessing contact lists, giving users easier control of who they are inviting.”

More worryingly, preliminary AdaptiveMobile research has also identified technical errors in some apps that cause issues within mobile networks and may allow unsolicited communications from unknown or unwanted individuals. In one very recent case, a badly designed social networking app, affecting several thousand mobile phones in North America, sent tens of thousands of invites repeatedly, draining handset batteries and leading to mobile network issues. In a separate case, another social networking app had insufficient controls on permissions on who could access whom, leading to spamming vulnerabilities. AdaptiveMobile has disclosed to the app developers the vulnerabilities, but other issues remain.

McDaid continued: “We are encountering basic problems in these apps’ implementation that are causing them to repeatedly send invites, resulting in mobile phone and carrier issues, as well as identifying apps with potentially more serious concerns. We call on the app industry to avoid making notifying all contacts standard practice, to look at the implementation of their apps and to work with the mobile industry in addressing these concerns. This is to avoid these apps ‘forcing’ their users to become spammers and to ensure they are not causing problems for both mobile subscribers and wireless carriers.”

For more information and further detail, please read this supporting blog by Cathal McDaid: Ethical Growth Hacking.

About AdaptiveMobile:

AdaptiveMobile is the world leader in mobile security, enabling trusted networks for the world’s largest operator groups and protecting over a billion subscribers globally. AdaptiveMobile provides carriers with the most comprehensive network-based security solutions enabling them to protect their consumer and enterprise customers against the growing threat of mobile abuse. www.adaptivemobile.com

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, discussed using predictive analytics to mon...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...