Menu
EN

Verizon’s spyware-launcher will be sending app usage data to advertisers

An app launcher and search tool AppFlash will be pre-installed on devices sold by Verizon. It allows the telecommunication giant and its partner companies to track the usage of apps on the phone and gather a lot of other information on the behavior of its user. The launcher is now being tested on LG K20 V.

A launcher is a “skin”-app that allows changing the interface and functions of a smartphone, adds additional services, options and settings to the operation system. In order to do this, the app demands access to a bunch of system functions and to the device’s contents.

An expert of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has called AppFlash “spyware” and expressed concern over privacy protection since the launcher gathers information about apps that are installed on a device by its user. It also has access to web search and browsing history. It is allowed by its privacy policy to use this information for targeting ads and to share it within the “Verizon family of companies”. This family includes AOL and Yahoo that dominate web advertising market.

It’s quite easy to imagine the variety of strategies of exploiting the information about apps that a person uses. Advertisers love to know what bank you keep your money at or if you have installed a fertility calendar. A device’s owner can switch AppFlash off, but a root access is required to remove it. Until uninstalled, an app cannot be considered innocuous.

Another point of concern for EFF experts is the potential vulnerability of AppFlash to hackers. Being hacked, the app grants access to the sensitive behavioral data.

Being one of the largest international wireless access providers, Verizon is preparing to the new rules that regulate the distribution of users’ personal data by ISPs. The US Senate has already approved the bill that eliminates for ISPs the requirement to get a user’s explicit consent before selling or sharing the data on their behavior on the Web. The bill has yet to be approved by the House and signed by President Trump who is well known for his urge to support businesses and remove obstacles to their development.

Verizon and other companies that sell web access and devices with pre-installed apps harvest huge amounts of data on their users’ behavior, habits, lifestyle, health, income, spendings, notions and plans. While users have no control over this data, its transfer and usage. In the case of pre-installed apps, there’s even no place for personal free will and choice in downloading an app that has access to information. It is also not so easy to switch to another ISP if your provider sells your data (not to mention the fact that there hardly are any that don’t). Finally, Google has a habit of blocking anti-tracking apps in its Play Store which makes the task of securing an Android device more complicated.

We understand the anxiety about these trends. One of the main functions of AdGuard is blocking websites and apps from tracking user activity and gathering their data. We are inclined to do all we can to keep those who have installed AdGuard thoroughly protected.

Liked this post?
By downloading the comments you agree the terms and policies

AdGuard
for Windows

AdGuard for Windows is more than an ad blocker. It is a multipurpose tool that blocks ads, controls access to dangerous sites, speeds up page loading, and protects children from inappropriate content.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard
for Mac

AdGuard for Mac is a unique ad blocker designed with macOS in mind. In addition to protecting you from annoying ads in browsers and apps, it shields you from tracking, phishing, and fraud.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard
for Android

AdGuard for Android is a perfect solution for Android devices. Unlike most other ad blockers, AdGuard doesn't require root access and provides a wide range of app management options.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard
for iOS

The most advanced ad blocker for Safari: it makes you forget about pop-up ads, speeds up page loading, and protects your personal data. A manual element-blocking tool and highly customizable settings help you tailor the filtering to your exact needs.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard Browser extension

AdGuard is the fastest and most lightweight ad blocking extension that effectively blocks all types of ads on all web pages! Choose AdGuard for the browser you use and get ad-free, fast and safe browsing.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5

AdGuard for Safari

Ad blocking extensions for Safari are having hard time since Apple started to force everyone to use the new SDK. AdGuard extension is supposed to bring back the high quality ad blocking back to Safari.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
Available on the
App Store
Download
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard Home

AdGuard Home is a network-wide software for blocking ads & tracking. After you set it up, it’ll cover ALL your home devices, and you don’t need any client-side software for that. With the rise of Internet-Of-Things and connected devices, it becomes more and more important to be able to control your whole network.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5

AdGuard Content Blocker

AdGuard Content Blocker will eliminate all kinds of ads in mobile browsers that support content blocker technology — namely, Samsung Internet and Yandex.Browser. While being more limited than AdGuard for Android, it is free, easy to install and still provides high ad blocking quality.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard Assistant

A companion browser extension for AdGuard desktop apps. It offers an in-browser access to such features as custom element blocking, allowlisting a website or sending a report.
User Reviews: 18175
4.7 out of 5
Assistant for Chrome Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Firefox Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Edge Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Opera Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Yandex Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Safari Is it your current browser?
If you can't find your browser, try the old legacy Assistant version, which you can find in AdGuard extension settings.
Downloading AdGuard To install AdGuard, click the file indicated by the arrow Select "Open" and click "OK", then wait for the file to be downloaded. In the opened window, drag the AdGuard icon to the "Applications" folder. Thank you for choosing AdGuard! Select "Open" and click "OK", then wait for the file to be downloaded. In the opened window, click "Install". Thank you for choosing AdGuard!
Install AdGuard on your mobile device