Other AVG Erroneously Tagging Apps as a Threat

Computersmith64

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
It seems that a recent update of AVG for Android has started identifying any app using Leadbolt ads as a threat. AVG will call such apps a "potentially unwanted program" - whatever that means. I have spent the best part of the past week battling with AVG's abysmal support, trying to get them to whitelist Yahtzee! because after they started tagging it as a threat, the number of uninstalls went up significantly - even exceeding the number of installs on one particular day.

So far I haven't been able to get AVG to change their stance on this, despite reaching out to several of their executives via LinkedIn - although I was able to escalate the issue through their corporate communications group. Sadly, they are still maintaining that they are justified in tagging Yahtzee! as a threat because they classify Leadbolt as Malware -> http://www.avgthreatlabs.com/virus-and-malware-information/info/android-leadbolt/. I have made Leadbolt aware of the issue & they are following up. I'm hopeful they will be able to put some pressure on AVG to change their classification of Leadbolt.

Also, here's a link to a site that you can upload your apk to & get it scanned by 50 anti-virus apps at the same time. It will report back if any of them find anything in your app that they think is a potential threat
-> https://www.virustotal.com/.

- Colin.
 

TomA

Active Member
Licensed User
It seems that a recent update of AVG for Android has started identifying any app using Leadbolt ads as a threat. AVG will call such apps a "potentially unwanted program"...

I tend to agree with AVG - A check of the link you gave contains the following info:

"Android/Leadbolt is a software that gets installed on your android device as a bundle with the application you downloaded. It displays unwanted advertisements as notifications and may be considered privacy-invasive. These type of ads are not easily blocked and usually require of either the complete removal of the infected application or another application to block the ads from being pushed. These kinds of threats are called Adware. Android/Leadbolt is currently ranked 38 in the world for mobile, online and PC malware, affecting between 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 users."

It sounds like Leadbolt installs its own stuff on the Android device and is relatively invasive which is the problem. I have encountered a couple of apps that did similar things and I removed them pretty quickly. While not an exhaustive search, I have checked out several other good sounding monetization systems but they all wanted to install their own stuff so I decided against them. If I install an app, I do not mind built in ads such as those from Admob, since I know that is how the developer is trying to support his/her efforts. However, I strongly object to any app that wants to install other software for whatever purpose, including pushing ads. If removal of the app gets rid of the ads as well, that is OK, but if removal of the app does not necessarily remove the advertising at the same time, I feel that is just plain wrong and it sounds like Leadbolt may fall into this category and that is the reason AVG treats it as a threat.
 
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Computersmith64

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
I tend to agree with AVG - A check of the link you gave contains the following info:
It sounds like Leadbolt installs its own stuff on the Android device and is relatively invasive which is the problem.

So it appears Tom, that your knowledge of Leadbolt is as limited as AVG's. It's up to the developer themselves as to what extent of Leadbolt implementation they include in their app. In my case, I simply show an interstitial ad after each game. There is no push functionality & I have explicitly disabled the optional permissions that collect demographic data from the users device. There is no "...software that gets installed on your device as a bundle...". AVG have taken a generalized approach & said that every app that implements Leadbolt functionality is malware - however this is simply not true. When I uploaded my apk to virustotal.com, AVG was one of only 6 (out of 50) virus scanners that identified it as a threat due to Leadbolt - & the other 5 are applications that I've never heard of.

- Colin.
 
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TomA

Active Member
Licensed User
Just wanted to add a note re my previous post - Leadbolt is not the only ad network that can somewhat invasive - Airpush also comes to mind and I know there are others. While looking into this, I ran across an app on Google Play called "Ad-Network Scanner & Detector' that will scan a device for potential problems. It can be found at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lookout.addetector&hl=en
There are other similar apps available.

And Colin, I expect that AVG is just 'playing it safe' - since the potential is there to be invasive, they are assuming it is being used. Maybe you should continue to follow up on this - since some of the virus scanners don't see you app as a potential threat, I would suggest you start with them to see how they can pass your app without problems when AVG don't. (Personally, I have never liked AVG - I have seen problems with it giving false positives before)
 
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Computersmith64

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
And Colin, I expect that AVG is just 'playing it safe' - since the potential is there to be invasive, they are assuming it is being used. Maybe you should continue to follow up on this - since some of the virus scanners don't see you app as a potential threat, I would suggest you start with them to see how they can pass your app without problems when AVG don't. (Personally, I have never liked AVG - I have seen problems with it giving false positives before)

Thanks Tom. I downloaded that app & interestingly, it doesn't recognize Leadbolt (or TapforTap) in my apps, but does identify AdMob - which I don't use. My requests to AVG (of which there have been many!) appear to be falling on deaf ears, so I am in the process of uploading Leadbolt-free versions of Yahtzee! to Play Store to see if this reduces the uninstall rate. In the meantime I will keep lobbying AVG to change their stance...

- Colin.
 
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Computersmith64

Well-Known Member
Licensed User
UPDATE: AVG emailed me last night to say that they have reconsidered & because I don't use the push functionality of Leadbolt, they will whitelist Yahtzee! Of course in the meantime, I have released a non Leadbolt version...

While this is good news for me, I think they will still automatically tag any other apps using Leadbolt as a threat - so if you are using it in your app, you may want to take appropriate action.

- Colin.
 
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