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    Ever wonder how those pesky pop-up ads end up on your smartphone? More importantly, do you ever consider what this seemingly harmless display of ads can do to you and your data? There are more to these ads than just taking up space and eating up your phone’s bandwidth and battery life.

    This month’s Mobile Review sheds light on the overlooked organizations behind these ads, mobile ad networks. Get to know how they operate, their hidden activities, their motivations, and how they directly affect you. Though not intentionally malicious, their processes can still put mobile users at risk.

    Late in November, Senior Threat Researcher Noriyaki Hayashi already gave us a concise breakdown of free app ecosystem and the part mobile ad networks play in it. This report gives an update on how these networks have adapted to further aid app developers and, in some way, protect users as well.

    Also in this report is a look at mobile malware type called premium service abusers. We analyzed how they get on smartphones, how they behave, and why they are a preferred money-making scheme of cybercriminals. Compared to our midyear stats, premium services abusers remained the top mobile malware threat in November 2012, with FAKE and BOXER variants alone raking up to over 57% of our total accumulated mobile malware detections.

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