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Old December 4th, 2011, 10:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default start.infospace.com has hijacked my browser

i have no idea how this happened

i have had this phone for a week, and i just noticed that start.infospace.com has completely hijaked my browser. it set the homepage, default search, EVERYTHING to this website.

i've run airpush detector and several anti-virus programs and they have found nothing.

how do i get rid of this and why did this happen?

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Old December 5th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i have the same thing going on for me too, if you find out why please post back
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Old December 5th, 2011, 12:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I figured it out. Might not be a permanent fix but so far so good.

Just go into your browser settings and select the "Reset to Default" option at the bottom of the settings list. This will revert everything back to its factory setting for the browser.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have the same. I also have a shortcut on one of the desktops. It is a blue icon with a magnifying glass on it.

I have no clue where it came from!

I think it is important to get to the bottom of this and find out what application put it.

Can be malicious.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think this little gem came with "MP3 Downloader Pro"
I also started getting notification popups after installing it. I removed the app but the "search" shortcut is still there and there is likely malware that remains somewhere on the phone.

When I go into browser settings I see the start page set to "searchmobileonline.com" with some junk that redirects me to start.infospace.com

I found another post about it here: http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/new-member-introduction-site-assistance/7395-im-new-i-have-problem-unknown-ghost-app.html

The guy in the thread tried a lot of things and someone else ended up just doing a factory reset of their phone to get rid of it because AVG did't pick it up.

I'll try to do some more research into it if I can.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antakar View Post
I have the same. I also have a shortcut on one of the desktops. It is a blue icon with a magnifying glass on it.

I have no clue where it came from!

I think it is important to get to the bottom of this and find out what application put it.

Can be malicious.
Advertising companies like AirPush let devs put addons in (free) apps which push spam notifications in the notification bar and shortcuts with spam apps on the screen.

http://www.airpush.com/developers

Run 'Addons Detector' and 'AirPush Detector' to find out when one of these AirPush addons is in one of your free apps.
With 'Addons Detector' use the filter 'Push Notifications'.

Harry
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Old December 7th, 2011, 09:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This also appeared on my Galaxy S2. I run Go launcher and the icon was not on any of my home screens until I exited to touchwiz default and there it was. I had just updated several apps so it may have been from one of them. They were; ebay, QR droid, google search (goggles) and argos. Did not seem to have done anything to my browser but not sure how long it had been there, possibly minutes. Guess I would not have noticed if I had not briefly gone back to touchwiz.

edit;
it did indeed hijack my browser. I am using dolphin and forgot it would be the default browser affected. Even after resetting to default, it clearly shows original homepage but still reverts back to the hijack page. Might just do that reset if it won't clear.
edit 2;
well, I forced stopped the internet app from settings, applications, cleared data, cleared cache, disabled connections, wifi, then added in google as startup page then re-enabled and it seems ok now.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry2 View Post
Advertising companies like AirPush let devs put addons in (free) apps which push spam notifications in the notification bar and shortcuts with spam apps on the screen.

Airpush - Developers

Run 'Addons Detector' and 'AirPush Detector' to find out when one of these AirPush addons is in one of your free apps.
With 'Addons Detector' use the filter 'Push Notifications'.

Harry
I installed both apps, they both say that i dont have any notification ad apps.

Nothing.

I still would like to pinpoint the app that installed that search...
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Old December 8th, 2011, 06:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antakar View Post
I installed both apps, they both say that i dont have any notification ad apps.

Nothing.

I still would like to pinpoint the app that installed that search...
So maybe a new kind of culprit
Or the culprit app is gone (in the meantime uninstalled or modified with an update).
Remainig is only that simple shortcut with the search icon with doesn't give any hint of the culprit.

It is a shortcut to a web page, isn't it? Did you try it?

Edit: Found more info ...
http://www.pcworld.com/article/245305/sneaky_mobile_ads_invade_android_phones.html

Harry
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Old December 12th, 2011, 12:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I found this same ad lodged in my notification bar after installing "true or false quiz". It didn't appear until after I played the game for the first time.

I DID however get rid of both the app and the unwanted notification add by simply by doing the following:

Settings> Manage Apps> Downloaded> True or false quiz

**Once here, MAKE SURE U "CLEAR DATA" BEFORE UNINSTALLING.**

Then uninstall the program (mine was the true or false quiz) you feel that the unwanted adware came with and it shouldn't appear again, hopefully this will save you from an unnecessary factory reset! Good luck!!
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Old December 13th, 2011, 09:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Cool Fixed!!

Hey everyone, I am new to the forum but I just ran into the same issue. I installed "Slot Machines" and it somehow gave me this weird "infospace" virus on my browser. I uninstalled the game and still no help. Finally, I went into the SD Card with a simple browser (Androzip or w/e) and deleted the file folder it created. This seems to have removed the issue. Thanks and hope this helps!
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Old December 13th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have the same Infospace crap on my phone. Found it today morning. I have not noticed any app updates. The only app I downloaded recently was the "Brightest Flashlight" on Saturday, but didn't get to use it until yesterday. Infospace is now set as homepage on my Samsung Galaxy S2. The actual homepage URL is LINK REMOVED FOR SAFETY CONCERNS... was Search Mobile Online though (supposedly a unique URL). I have since uninstalled the flashlight app, reset the home page, cleared everything on the browser and restarted my phone?
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Old December 14th, 2011, 12:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I hope this thread gains more traction.

I open my phone today to see a generic blue magnifiying glass and then when i opened my browser my internet app my homepage was set to start.infospace.com I hope someone with the skill can look into this. I am new to android and feel a little on edge downloading anything. I cant be the only one that does online banking or pay bills on there phone. I order things on my phone and key in my CC numbers. I dont know if spyware like this can log your keystrokes in a carrier IQ type fashion, but i would love some insight into this so i can trust my phone again. Thank you.

On a side note there is a "app source" hash key in the url if it can help: Search
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Old December 14th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This might get more hits in the lounge.
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Old December 14th, 2011, 03:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Same thing (as newcleanshoes) happened to me on SGS II, I don't know what app brought this about. I cleared data and uninstalled the last 2 free games and reset my browser, but I'm as well concerned about privacy and keylogging. To make matters worse, I also had Unkown sources check-box on in application settings, so this could have come from elsewhere although I only installed from android market.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Brightest Flashlight installs a infospace search icon on your homescreen. It matches the example in the pcworld article Harry pointed to exactly.
I cant figure out how to remove it. I have addons detector and airpush detector and while they say Brightest Flashlight may have ads they do nothing to remove the infospace search icon. Also cant find what file it made using androzip so I cant remove it that way. And of course removing the app does nothing to remove the adware.

Also my browser has been hijacked and nothing I can do will stop infospace from being my homepage. Not restore to default or anything. And even though I changed my homepage to google in settings and it still says google in the settings my browser still goes to infospace.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 12:28 AM   #17 (permalink)
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From the Airpush website:

"Yes, all of our ads offer opt-out:

a) For Push Notification Ads, we offer a permanent opt-out to end-users which blocks Airpush ads from all developers. Each ad is tagged with a link to Android Ad Network | Push Notification ad network | Mobile Ad network | Android app monetization , where the user can opt-out by installing our opt-out application or manually entering their IMEI on the web page.

b) For Icon Ads, users can delete them with 1 click.

c) For Signup Ads, users can click the 'Skip' button."

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE THAT ONE CLICK DELETE IS!!! And oh gee what a coincidence that my imei number isn't in their database so I cant opt out of future stuff. What a joke.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 02:28 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Can't you move this infospace search icon (long press on it) to the right bottom of the screen (waste basket) to remove it?
Like you can do to remove an app icon.
I think this is meaning '1 click'.
As I know it's only an URL link.

Harry
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Old December 16th, 2011, 02:44 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Harry,

I have never been so happy to look so stupid. My mind was on removing malware from the source and I overlooked the obvious.

As soon as I drug the icon to the trash it appears my browser will now accept different home pages also.

Would you guess I am safe from any malicious programs if the only symptoms were from Brightest Flashlight off the app market and totally resembled the icon in the pc world article?
Does dragging to the trash totally remove an app or is there more I should do? I have no clue, for all I know its like deleting a shortcut on a pc.

Shame on companies for doing that. I realize the apps are free and they need to make money and thats why I agree to look at ads when using the apps. But to add adware in other places and to hijack browsers is crossing the line.

Thanks again for pointing out the obvious Harry.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 02:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Matt,
when the spam only comes from Brightest Flashlight you should get rid of the spam by uninstalling the app.

But I read in a post above, for to be sure, you should clear the app's data before uninstalling the app.
(Settings, Applications, Manage applications)

Good luck.

Harry
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Old December 16th, 2011, 03:06 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I did clear the apps data before removing the app but removing the app did not remove the search icon.

I am really hoping that dragging it to the trash cleaned it for good and that it wasn't malicious.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 03:25 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Rushmore View Post
I did clear the apps data before removing the app but removing the app did not remove the search icon.

I am really hoping that dragging it to the trash cleaned it for good and that it wasn't malicious.
The culprit was the app. Without uninstalling the app it would create a new infospace icon after you had removed the old icon (I think so )

EDIT: Glad you got rid of this browser hijacking too

Harry
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Old December 17th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #23 (permalink)
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okay... not only has infospace taken over my homepage (which i know how to revert back to my original) but heres the tricky part... its actually changed the default to inforspace homepage.

not happy about this at all . i wish i knew how to get rid of it completely .
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 02:50 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I got hit with this one after installing a game for my nieces called: Fishing Game

Avoid it like the plague!
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan47 View Post
This also appeared on my Galaxy S2. I run Go launcher and the icon was not on any of my home screens until I exited to touchwiz default and there it was. I had just updated several apps so it may have been from one of them. They were; ebay, QR droid, google search (goggles) and argos. Did not seem to have done anything to my browser but not sure how long it had been there, possibly minutes. Guess I would not have noticed if I had not briefly gone back to touchwiz.

edit;
it did indeed hijack my browser. I am using dolphin and forgot it would be the default browser affected. Even after resetting to default, it clearly shows original homepage but still reverts back to the hijack page. Might just do that reset if it won't clear.
edit 2;
well, I forced stopped the internet app from settings, applications, cleared data, cleared cache, disabled connections, wifi, then added in google as startup page then re-enabled and it seems ok now.
This helped me! Thank you.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 09:11 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Default web page reset by InfoSpace

When you try to set your home page (browser, settings, more, set home page) there is a choosable-but-not-writable selection called "Use Default." If you have the InfoSpace malware, this will read "w w w . searchmobileonline . c o m" with a "/?source_id=..." string following.
Navigating to that page reveals the fake Google site you see when you click the Search magnifier or try to load a hijacked browser.
I received it with Brightest Flashlight.
I cleared it by deleting the app and search icon, then force-stopping the browser and clearing all data.
So far, it hasn't returned.
I believe the code is more sophisticated than a simple "default home page" selection. It will, seemingly on a timer, overwrite a saved previous page and load InfoSpace instead after restarting the browser. If you navigate away from the browser with IMDB open, for example, and do other things for 10 minutes, when you return, IMDB is showing. After a half hour, InfoSpace is showing. If you shut the phone off for a while and then open the browser, InfoSpace comes up with the browser.
If you read the privacy policy for InfoSpace, they are aggressive about collecting information and sharing it.
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Old January 10th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I got it too, so I'm just subscribing to the thread. I did a manual reset of the home page. So far so good, and like others I only started seeing it after installing brightest flashlight.
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Old January 17th, 2012, 04:38 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I too got it from installing Brightest Flashlight. I've uninstalled it now and given it a bad review in the Market. I'd encourage others to do the same to prevent others doing the same.
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Old January 17th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Found the Fix

I was tinkering around w/ the settings in the web browser and realized how to remove it. Apparently it was added into it via "website settings". To uninstall, simply go to "Settings" in the stock browser and scroll down to "Website Settings" at the very bottom.

There you should only see 2 google website settings. If you see a "start.infospace.com" setting or any other setting, simply click on it. Then click on "clear data" or whatever the option is. Done.

It should no longer redirect you now. I have a Samsung Galaxy S2, stock rom, T-mobile. I mainly use Dolphin Browser which seemed unaffected. Only the stock browser was showing the redirect. Anyways this took care of it for me.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 07:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I have that blue icon on my phone. Today my android phone had software update and it restarted and then that's when the icon showed up.
my browser has changed its default homepage to searchmobileonline. i read it shows up after you restart your phone.... the thing is i rarely turn off my phone and i'm always installing and uninstalling any new apps i find so i have no idea what app came with the blue icon.
i already deleted most of my apps so i can't do the 'clear data before you uninstall' option... and i deleted some folders in my phone but it still didn't work. i also cleared my browsers data and default page is back to normal but the blue icon is still there after i restarted my phone. whenever i click it, it goes to searchmobileonline. it probably isn't doing anything now but i want it gone.

i'll probably just reset my factory data... and be careful of what apps install from now on.

i remember a month ago, a picture showed up in my gallery. i have no idea how it got there, i never downloaded it. it was an ad for an app i think. I didn't think much of it so i deleted it. i forget the name of the app...

+++edit+++ Before I reset my phone I tried the add on detector app and it didn't detect anything.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 11:34 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Also got this from installing Brightest Flashlight. Uninstalled the app (cleared data first) and then sent the shortcut to the trash. Hopefully that will take care of things. From what I could see, google was still showing as default so hoping it didn't get too far. One can hope.

Thanks for everyone who has chimed in...replies were helpful.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 01:53 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breggyxo View Post
I have that blue icon on my phone. Today my android phone had software update and it restarted and then that's when the icon showed up ....
Have a look at that article ... you should recognize that annoying blue search icon.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/245305/sneaky_mobile_ads_invade_android_phones.html

Move the blue search icon in the trash. That may be enough to get rid of this AirPush ad.
But if an app with an AirPush addon has placed this blue search icon on your home screen that app will do it again and again ...
So you have to find this app with 'Addons Detector'. Set the filter to "Push Notifications".

Harry
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:43 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Starlight live wallpapers and its other ones from same developer also did.this addons detector found them. Thank you for the heads up
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Old January 28th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Unhappy feedback from Lookout security

I emailed Lookout security (which i use) and they emailed back with advice how to remove it. The instructions were to get Addon Detector and detailed how to use and remove the offending apps.

I had enquired as to why Lookout did not flag these apps up at installation, or even picked them up during a scan.

Lookout security maintains these apps are not malware, but they are apps that install adverts which can be removed and do not do any harm.

I'm not sure i agree with this, as the ads are installed without permission but this is their response nonetheless.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #35 (permalink)
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This blue search icon is on the Symantec page and might be an indication for malware on the phone ...
http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/androidcounterclank-found-official-android-market

If I had had such a icon on my home screen, I would look in the phone's log for that package "apperhand".
For to look in the log I would use 'aLogcat'.

EDIT: Ok, I've read an other article
Symantec calls it malware but Lookout says it's just an aggressive advertisement component

Harry
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Old January 31st, 2012, 04:00 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I've also got that annoying search icon, together with my homepage changed to searchmobileonline.com. In my case the culprit was screenshot app, developed by KASTOR soft.

I don't understand why people are doing this. What can the company behind searchmobileonline can gain by this? Don't they realize that they will annoy people? And why the developers are so damn stupid to include such crap in their apps? Don't they realize that people will hate them for that and will stop using their apps?

I got rid of that crap with "Ad Detector" by TrustGo.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 12:24 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Hello,

I downloaded a phaser app last night (yes I'm a Star Trek geek) and found this troublesome little shortcut on my desktop. I uninstalled the app and installed airpush remover, to no avail. I couldn't remove it, nor could I remove any other icon. I found out that it was just a web shortcut. I tried wiping out my home screens, and all shortcuts with them. After wiping out all my icons I got rid of it but could still not add new shortcuts. I noticed that I could add things by clicking menu, then add. I clicked "more" and saw a "Lock Desktop". I had never used it before so I clicked on it and Lo! I can add shortcuts again. So after installing the app, it added a shortcut and then locked the desktop to try and prevent anyone from removing their shortcut. Ingenious in a way, as it simply changed some low priority settings and made it appear as though the phone was hacked. I am using cyanogenmod, and to be honest I only used the stock ROM for like, 4 hours before replacing it, so I'm not sure if this will apply to everyone or just cm users, but go ahead and try it out, if you're still having this issue.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 05:30 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcadar View Post
I've also got that annoying search icon, together with my homepage changed to searchmobileonline.com. In my case the culprit was screenshot app, developed by KASTOR soft.

I don't understand why people are doing this. What can the company behind searchmobileonline can gain by this? Don't they realize that they will annoy people? And why the developers are so damn stupid to include such crap in their apps? Don't they realize that people will hate them for that and will stop using their apps?

I got rid of that crap with "Ad Detector" by TrustGo.
Working my way round this now-I made the mistake of installing this Kastorsoft Screenshot rubbish-without reading reviews first.

I've wiped all internet data, caches etc, and hopefully that'll shift it. Will have a look at the Ad Detector thing too, as others have said, Airpush did nothing. That's the first thing I tried when the searchmobile thing popped up.

The people who do this sort of thing are, quite frankly, scum
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:47 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I've just caught this from the deal or no deal app! Sneaky thou, because I have 5 home screen pages and it was at the end of page 5.(It hasn't over run my browser yet) I moved it to the trash anyway, then I did -
Google - But go to home page (e.g. search for something)
Then bottom left button (On Samsung)
Down to settings
Right at the bottom is website settings - click on that
I found it in there, I did the bottom left button and cleared and deleted all data from that file. The info space junk was the only thing in there.
The moment I cleared it I got a notification about updates.

Will see how it goes!
P.s. I'd already uninstalled the deal or no deal app, but might not have cleared the data first.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 01:05 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetractys View Post
When you try to set your home page (browser, settings, more, set home page) there is a choosable-but-not-writable selection called "Use Default." If you have the InfoSpace malware, this will read "w w w . searchmobileonline . c o m" with a "/?source_id=..." string following.
Navigating to that page reveals the fake Google site you see when you click the Search magnifier or try to load a hijacked browser.
I received it with Brightest Flashlight.
I cleared it by deleting the app and search icon, then force-stopping the browser and clearing all data.
So far, it hasn't returned.
I believe the code is more sophisticated than a simple "default home page" selection. It will, seemingly on a timer, overwrite a saved previous page and load InfoSpace instead after restarting the browser. If you navigate away from the browser with IMDB open, for example, and do other things for 10 minutes, when you return, IMDB is showing. After a half hour, InfoSpace is showing. If you shut the phone off for a while and then open the browser, InfoSpace comes up with the browser.
If you read the privacy policy for InfoSpace, they are aggressive about collecting information and sharing it.

I know your post was made a while back, but I literally registered just to thank you!!! I spent soo much time trying to find the solution on a samsung galaxy s3 and reading this post solved it!! Thank you!!!!
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