Adware Scanning False Positives: Urban Airship SDK detected as adware

Adware removal programs will sometimes flag Urban Airship as potential and/or high-risk adware.  This article will explain why this happens and why these adware alerts are not a cause for concern.

Why does this happen?

Urban Airship's Engagement platform provides the ability to send push notifications that appear in front of users on lock screens or messaging within the app.

Anything that comes into the user's view that was not a direct result of an interaction (pushing a button, clicking a link, etc) will be considered a "potential threat".

Developers also have the option of enabling our SDK analytics functionality in their apps to provide feedback to better target their audiences. The collection of this analytic data can be another reason why apps or SDKs can be incorrectly marked as adware.

What stops people from sending ads with push notifications?

Urban Airship regularly shares best practices of sending push notifications on our blog.  These come in the form of written posts (such as this) or webinars.

Apple also provides guidelines that must be followed or else your ability to send notifications can be revoked by Apple. 

Google provides similar guidelines. 

Can anything be done to remove Urban Airship as "potential" or "high-risk" adware?

Since Urban Airship's entire SDK is focused on delivering push notifications, and Urban Airship's solution is not adware, your best option is to ignore or suppress these warnings.  

Our security team may be able to work with the adware company in question to request that they update their scanning process to no longer flag Urban Airship as a potential threat to prevent future instances from occurring.

Please first ensure that you are already using our latest SDK in the app that you have scanned and please email support@urbanairship.com with the following pieces of information if the warnings still appear:

  • App name/App key
  • Name & version of the Adware removal program being used

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