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Android Spam

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by J44213, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. J44213

    J44213 Lurker
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    An increasing problem getting far worse in the past 6 months is the large amount of what appears to be Android spam arriving unannounced and unwanted. Nearly every time I open the phone, a message for gambling or gaming or something else appears. Through the notifications panel I can sometime track down the application causing this but often this is hidden. Why Android allows this to happen I don't know. It just irritates the user and downgrades the value of Android. It is already a fairly bug ridden operating system and this just makes it intolerable. What the kids that write this rubbish don't appreciate is that it just angers the users more.
    I live for the day when a decent Android system is designed which is simple, intuitive, bug free and logical. Perhaps we could have the existing system for people whose lives revolve around the phone and a mature system for people that simply want to use the phone as a productive instrument with none of the uninstallable junk Android bloatware that clutters the screen.
     

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  2. The_Chief

    The_Chief Accept no imitations!
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    Hi there and welcome to Android Forums!

    Considering that Android is now halfway through the alphabet and over a decade old, one has to ponder the definition of "mature system". Windows has been around for over 20 years and I continue to get spam in my Outlook inbox. I won't parse details with you because I can appreciate your frustration over the limitations of the operating system... but I'm not getting all these popups for games and gambling like you are. So it HAS to be something on your device - either an app that was installed or a website that left a present for you. Even if the original app was uninstalled, there may still be leftovers that can give you headaches.

    Go to your Settings --> Apps, tap the menu in the upper right and select "Show System Apps", then scroll down the list looking for anything obvious that shouldn't be there. Also, select your browser and clear the cache. Let me know if this helps!

    :)
     
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  3. El Presidente

    El Presidente Beware The Milky Pirate!
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    Maybe look at what you're installing/the websites you're visting? In my 8 or so years of owning Android devices, I have never come across ads that take over the whole screen or popups etc.

    Do you have anything by Cheetah Mobile installed? Or anything by Go? Do you regularly install applications outwith the Play store (or any legitimate app store)?
     
  4. Jfalls63

    Jfalls63 Android Expert
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  5. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    If the android you are using has permissions in the apps, then go turn off notifications in most of the unnecessary ones.
     
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  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Never had that happen at all. Have you installed anything by GO, UC, DU(Baidu), ES Explorer, Cheetah Mobile, Qihoo 360, flashlight apps with excessive permissions, etc.
    It can be....but what device have you actually got there, make and model, is it cheapo, is it a carrier version?

    Manufacturer and/or carrier bloatware, e.g. Samsung, Verizon, etc. Because Android itself is just the OS.
     
    #6 mikedt, Sep 30, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
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  7. J44213

    J44213 Lurker
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    Thanks for the responses to my questions. I have a suspicion that the problem of spam may be carrier generated as I recently changed carriers and the problem started. However, the Android designers could certainly do better - I have had suggestions to check via the notifications panel as to what application is causing the problem. That's fine when it works but obviously the designers of the spam can easily get around these Android checks and remain hidden. Another problem with Android is that there is no consistency between Android versions and as a consequence, step by step instructions to solve issues are useless unless instructions are tailored to the exact version and phone make. (I have a middle market Huawei phone.)
    To answer one of the questions - I have only downloaded applications from the Google store. It's a real joke giving permissions for new applications - they all ask for access to everything an won't download if you don't give access to everything. I can't delete Android/carrier/phone bloatware and like Windows, is becoming a real problem that 99% of users hate and don't want.
    Why can't Android designers put some effort into allowing users to remove completely all unwanted software!!!? Is this too difficult? Of course I understand that Android is often paid to make sure that users can't delete this rubbish.
     
  8. Hadron

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    The reason some apps cannot be uninstalled us that they have been bundled as part of the operating system. This isn't a fault of the OS design but a choice by the manufacturer or carrier ("Android" does not get money from this, but the manufacturer or carrier may). Remember that the manufacturer adapts the Android OS for their devices, and adds their own customisation, and if you buy through a carrier they normally add bloat of their own. None of this is part of the OS they receive from Google (though Google usually mandate that a bunch of Google apps are included). It is perfectly possible to pre-install apps in a way that allows the user to remove them, so this is a choice the manufacturer or carrier has made. Even so they can be disabled unless the manufacturer/carrier has chosen specifically to prevent that.

    BTW when I say carrier I mean the one the phone was originally bought through, not the one you are currently using if you have changed carriers and kept the same phone.

    Since we don't know what app is doing this I'd suggest clearing the caches of all of your browsers and checking for any app that has the permission to draw over other apps. That has legitimate uses, so having it isn't proof of guilt, but it is something that makes such ads possible so may help identify suspects. There are a few apps that can show you what pops have what permissions, e.g. Addons Detector, which would speed this up.

    You could also try running in safe mode for a while. This disables all user-installed apps, so if the problem goes away that will tell you that it's one of the apps you installed, though not which.
     
    #8 Hadron, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  9. Dannydet

    Dannydet Android Expert
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    I, like you, ran into the crap from apps and websites ads on my phone.
    I ended up installing Adguard, the paid version, and never looked back.
    It's worked great and you can customize it's settings to your liking
     
  10. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    You said you changed carriers. You got none from your old carrier? Does the new carrier carry Huawei phones?

    If you downloaded new carrier's app, then it could be spamming you. If it's just general and based on your location, check and see what permissions you have given Google. (mostly location) TMO is trying to get everybody to use its app. I don't have it since I buy unlocked phones. TMO also has free offers on Tuesdays. I've never seen one, but they should be ID'd as carrier. I'd probably call them spam.

    The new thing in malls was to bombard your phone with spam from the merchants. Location was needed to do that.

    There's a sticky post on this site about permissions and what actually needs what.
    Maybe one of the older readers or mods can point you to it.
     
  11. J44213

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    Thanks all for your replies. I will do some further investigation. The Huawei phone was an unlocked phone which I used on a carrier of my choice in Australia. No problems with this. I then lived in Europe for a while and changed to an Italian carrier when the problems really started. This may have been a co-incidence.

    I guess another point I am trying to make is that the Android OS designers should allow the user the capability to remove ALL unwanted software that is not essential to the operation of the phone - after all, the user is paying a lot of money for the phone and service. It is a bit like the infuriating adds on Pay TV. It is not only an Android problem but Microsoft and even Apple are doing this increasingly. Obviously they believe that they have captive markets and don't care about adverse reactions from users.

    I always stop all notifications (except those I want) and never have location switched on - I don't use the GPS function. Conceivably, your location is approximately known in any case as the software can determine the mobile phone tower to which you are connected, so preventing location information being known is a futile exercise..

    I will look at Adguard software. I did install a couple of other similar recommended programs but the "spam" was even hidden from those scans.

    Again, thanks for all your interest and the helpful replies. Perhaps my ultimate solution to de-stressing my life is to get a simple press button phone. I have already deleted all social media accounts.....
     
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  12. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    https://m.jitterbugdirect.com/
    :thumbsupdroid:
     
  13. Hadron

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    The problem isn't the Android OS though. As you said, some software is essential to the phone, so you can't let the user just remove everything (we've had plenty of cases where people root phones, remove things they didn't think they needed then come looking for help - imagine what would happen if you didn't need to root in order to do this). But if there is any way to protect apps from being deleted or disabled manufacturers and carriers will use it to protect their junk. That's what's happening currently: it's not the OS, it's the manufacturer or carrier abusing necessary features of the OS to protect the junk apps they add. I don't see how the OS developers can stop this; in practice it's down to the customer to boycott manufacturers or carriers who add too much junk (and it may be a long wait for enough people to question this for it to change corporate behaviour).

    As for some of the other things, turning off location completely will stop apps from knowing where you are. In fact most use the wireless version of location rather than GPS itself, so it's having location in "low power" or "high precision" mode that gives those access. It's possible to locate using cell towers without using the location service, but it's generally only the carrier that has that (the phone can see tower ids, but few app developers will go to the effort of adding code to access these and trying to build a map of towers when most users just leave the full location services on anyway). Of course if they just want to know what country you are in that's trivial: the network id or ip address will tell them that for virtually no effort.
     
  14. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    And that's how ads get sent. It depends on the country. In the US you don't buy the phone and look for a carrier. With LTE, 3 of the carriers' messaging and calls can work.
    If you want an expensive phone, you buy it on time from a carrier, which means phone has the carrier's request to the company for the pre-installed apps.

    I did root a couple of Samsungs and a Nexus to get rid of Google's and carrier's snooping. I have no use for location. I know where I am, and since 911 and cell phones are not quite there yet, I don't want to depend on it. Law officers here have another device to find towers, etc.

    Here, it's also the carriers wanting to add to income. Verizon was (maybe still is) installing non-removable tracking cookies on phones bought from them. Adds more to sales. Don't know if TMOUS is, but I don't have and won't install the app. ATT, I have no idea.
     

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