Help Unknown app repeatedly installs itself in the background without any notification. Please help

Thanks for taking the time to read my problem.

For the past few months an app labelled as 'Gameloft - Top Games!' keeps appearing on my android. Everytime I notice it in my app draw I delete it, but by the next day it will be installed again...

I don't recognise this app at all, and don't download or play any Gameloft games, as I don't like the intrusive permissions they request.

I don't have developer options turned on or anything, and only really like to download apps with minimal permissions, exclusively from the playstore. My phone isn't rooted, I'm not using any pirated software, and malwarebytes doesn't show any problems (even when it scans the mystery 'gameloft' app itself).

What could be causing this? I just put it down to being paranoid or whatever, but after a little more research this evening, I notice that it has access to my messages and other personal information.

Has anyone else had problems with this potential spyware? How can I get rid of it? Can anyone help please?

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BlackandGreen

Newbie
Thread starter
I open it and it seems genuine. I've tried sending a message to gameloft directly telling them what's happening.

I'll update if they get back to me.
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electricpete

Android Expert
I notice "xperia"written written across the top of the app. Is your phone a Sony?

If yes, maybe this is something similar to oem bloatware (although usually these can't be uninstalled). If you can't uninstall it permanently, maybe there is an option to disable it within your system settings for the app.
 
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BlackandGreen

Newbie
Thread starter
I notice "xperia"written written across the top of the app. Is your phone a Sony?

If yes, maybe this is something similar to oem bloatware (although usually these can't be uninstalled). If you can't uninstall it permanently, maybe there is an option to disable it within your system settings for the app.

It could be, but it's strange as I've had this Z3 Compact for 10 months, and the Z1 for 3-4 years, without ever seeing this app. About a month and a half before Xmas it appeared and I've been deleting the damn thing ever since :-/
Sony do tend to update their own 'recommended apps' app quite often, which I never use anyway, but it always looks professional and polished. This Gameloft intruder looks like c**p..
 

BlackandGreen

Newbie
Thread starter
Also if it were bloatware that just can't be deleted, I would have the option to uninstall all updates and then to disable the app; with this I only have the uninstall option.
 

Hadron

Smoke me a kipper...
I've only done a quick search, but not found this widget in the Play Store or mentioned on Gameloft's own site (though I didn't search very long there). If it's reappearing that means that something else on the phone is restoring it.

Try checking app permissions (e.g. using Addons Detector) and see whether you have anything else installed apart from the Play Store that has the permission to install apps.
 

androidmachine

Android Enthusiast
Hadron has a good point. Some other app of some kind is installing this whenever you delete it. Check security under settings to make sure you don't have the box checked that allows installation of apps from unknown sources (sources other than the Play Store).
 

electricpete

Android Expert
It could be, but it's strange as I've had this Z3 Compact for 10 months, and the Z1 for 3-4 years, without ever seeing this app. About a month and a half before Xmas it appeared and I've been deleting the damn thing ever since :-/
Sony do tend to update their own 'recommended apps' app quite often, which I never use anyway, but it always looks professional and polished. This Gameloft intruder looks like c**p..

....Also if it were bloatware that just can't be deleted, I would have the option to uninstall all updates and then to disable the app; with this I only have the uninstall option.
All valid points. Note I did say something like bloatware. It could be OEM's know more than one trick for shoving apps into your face.

I didn't know you had a Sony phone when I posted, so obviously my suspicion is much heightened knowing that. Gameloft and Sony have some kind of business relationship, based not just the name xperia prominently featured in your gameloft screenshots, but also things like this:
http://technoodling.net/promo-alert-free-gameloft-games-for-xperia-c-users/

It doesn't much matter in finding a solution, other than that maybe it can give a clue to help track down what app on your phone may be installing it (if you can't track down by permissions... which would be a more direct approach). Sony or xperia apps would be the supicious ones to me.
 
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mikedt

你好
Is this a carrier version phone? i.e. branded, customized and subsidized? Something like Sony and Gameloft have partnered with Verizon or whatever, to put these freemium games on their devices?

I think all of Gameloft's games are freemium now, i.e. in-app purchases rather than paying up-front.

I've seen China Unicom version Samsungs that have something similar, there's a forced widget that offers freemium games.
 
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BlackandGreen

Newbie
Thread starter
Thanks for your input guys.

It's not a preinstalled app. I know this because I've had Xperia Z devices for 3-4 years and it has only recently appeared.

It's not bloatware that comes with Xperia devices, the fact it says Xperia but not Sony should ring some alarm bells straight off tbh; and the article you posted is an offer from 2 years ago relating to a different model of phone. (it also looks pretty dodgy too imo)

Since posting, the app hasn't actually came back...
I think it's because since posting here I've now opened it, and turned all of the settings off. (I wasn't going to open a random app that just appeared!)
I believe that it was initially downloaded unbeknownst to me, while I was downloading another app, and even though I had deleted the other app (I went on a clean out and got rid of my recent downloads hoping it would stop. I don't know which app caused the gameloft app to appear specifically, but it was from the app store), due to me not changing its settings, it was able to reinstall itself.

It's still worrying though. Let's hope that once you change the settings BEFORE you delete it, it won't reinstall itself again.

That's the fix I've got so far anyway, so if anyone else gets this irritating self installing gameloft 'cr'app, you will know what to do.

I will update if it comes back, of course.

Thanks all, and hope this helps someone.
 

mikedt

你好
"Xperia" is a Sony trademark for their phones, so it didn't ring alarm bells for me. On the other hand if something "Xperia" appeared on a Samsung or Oppo or something, then I would be very suspicious.
 
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