1. BTSee's Avatar
    I have noticed a new icon on one of my homescreens that has an image of a magnifying glass and a blue background. When you click it, it takes you to a webpage for a website called www(dot)searchmobileonline(dot)com. I don't know how this got there or what, if anything, it does.

    I can't find an app that is associated with it, and tried clearing my cache and re-starting my phone, but it is still there. I did a google search that only provided a little info...that it may have come from an Amazon Free App, and that it may be malicious...but not much more than that.

    I am contemplating a factory re-set, but figured I would ask/consult here before that.

    So, does anyone know anything about it? Will a factory re-set work?
    01-02-2012 09:10 AM
  2. Cyber Warrior's Avatar
    That type of stuff is usually associated with free games that run advertisements. Have you downloaded or played any new free games lately? ...if so, uninstall it.
    Read through this thread... its a similar problem: http://androidforums.com/samsung-gal...omescreen.html
    BTSee likes this.
    01-02-2012 09:24 AM
  3. BTSee's Avatar
    Thanks for the find and the link. I downloaded that Brightest Flashlight app this morning and that must be it. The funny thing is when I went to use it for the first time, a user agreement popped up. I thought that was weird since it was just a flashlight...and since I didn't know the name of the developer, I didn't accept and deleted the app. I then downloaded a flashlight from Motorola Mobility and that had a user agreement also, but since it was Motorola I accepted. I just uninstalled that as well to see if the icon would disappear, but it is still there.

    Do you think it is anything I should be concerned about, or is it just a harmless link to an alternate search engine that the app developer gets a commission on?
    01-02-2012 10:59 AM
  4. Cyber Warrior's Avatar
    I wouldn't worry about it... some free games do the same thing with the advertisements. Its most likely a harmless add on that came with the app as free promotion. Computers do the same thing with the add on search engine toolbars... if you're not careful when reading the agreements.. you can accidently miss the check box that says "add search toolbar".

    Just uninstall the app and use a different one or try redownloading it and don't agree to add on the search engine.
    01-02-2012 11:13 AM
  5. vomviersen's Avatar
    I got the mystery Search icon and an unwelcome browser hijack to searchmobileonline.com from the latest update to 3D Koi Pond Live Wallpaper from A.O.I Studio.

    I trashed the Search icon and uninstalled the app. It had not only changed the browser current home page, but the default home page as well (I use the default browser). In addition to changing the home page from within the browser, I had to also go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> All -> Internet and Clear data, Clear cache, Clear defaults. After a restart everything is fine.

    Well, that is, except since I already uninstalled the app, I didn't get the chance to leave an unfavorable review in the Android Market.

    I guess this could have been worse. It seems that users of the same developer's New Year Snow Live Wallpaper are getting porn ads following their latest update!
    frankjg likes this.
    01-04-2012 03:40 PM
  6. alf_dart's Avatar
    I got the mystery Search icon and an unwelcome browser hijack to searchmobileonline.com from the latest update to 3D Koi Pond Live Wallpaper from A.O.I Studio.
    I picked it up from Brightest Flashlight. Note to self: No. 1 Chinese Restaurant mentality caution tape. No real racism, just an observation about likely exaggeration.

    I trashed the Search icon and uninstalled the app. It had not only changed the browser current home page, but the default home page as well (I use the default browser). In addition to changing the home page from within the browser, I had to also go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> All -> Internet and Clear data, Clear cache, Clear defaults. After a restart everything is fine.

    Well, that is, except since I already uninstalled the app, I didn't get the chance to leave an unfavorable review in the Android Market.
    No sweat, gotcha' covered, left a damning flag at the marketplace.

    I guess this could have been worse. It seems that users of the same developer's New Year Snow Live Wallpaper are getting porn ads following their latest update!
    Interestingly, Android 4.0 ICS seems to be impervious to the browser homepage rewrite feature. Only icon deletion, and a bitter aftertaste for my fix. A post over on TransformerForums suggests various anti virus solutions, but I'm not too keen on that route just yet, unless more of these fabulous little spamware apps start popping up... Here's hoping.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
    02-27-2012 05:38 PM
  7. alf_dart's Avatar
    Discovered an article at Information Week (search for article "Android Counterclank: Malware, Or Smartphone Advertising?" on Google) that pretty much resolves this thread.

    The offending software can be described as Adware, more accurately than Malware, and is not considered to be malicious, as much as "in bad form".

    I'd still like to know that deleting the search icon removes ALL of the offending code (since I've already uninstalled the "carrier" app, which had no effect, I'm not really sure what else to do). Don't want to do a factory reset, ty.
    02-28-2012 08:21 PM
  8. lewie61's Avatar
    Discovered an article at Information Week (search for article "Android Counterclank: Malware, Or Smartphone Advertising?" on Google) that pretty much resolves this thread.

    The offending software can be described as Adware, more accurately than Malware, and is not considered to be malicious, as much as "in bad form".

    I'd still like to know that deleting the search icon removes ALL of the offending code (since I've already uninstalled the "carrier" app, which had no effect, I'm not really sure what else to do). Don't want to do a factory reset, ty.
    I've now seen this crap with a couple of games from Market. In each case, I deleted the app and the Searchmobleonline shortcut and that was the end of it. I also went out of my way to write scathing reviews for each app. Google needs to do a much better job of monitoring this garbage. I'd like to see them warn their vendors that if there are enough reviews mentioning adware or malware for an app, it will be pulled down and the author will be banned from Market.
    frankjg likes this.
    03-17-2012 10:27 AM
  9. jkschuster's Avatar
    I've now seen this crap with a couple of games from Market. In each case, I deleted the app and the Searchmobleonline shortcut and that was the end of it. I also went out of my way to write scathing reviews for each app. Google needs to do a much better job of monitoring this garbage. I'd like to see them warn their vendors that if there are enough reviews mentioning adware or malware for an app, it will be pulled down and the author will be banned from Market.
    Do you remember which apps were the offenders? I was duped by the brightest flashlight one...
    03-18-2012 11:40 AM
  10. rando991's Avatar
    I got it directly from Screenshot.
    03-30-2012 11:59 AM
  11. neanderthal0's Avatar
    I have the same problem, only I haven't downloaded any of the afore mentioned apps. I did delete everything but still am ending up there somehow.
    04-05-2012 10:57 AM
  12. liraz1234's Avatar
    I got the mystery Search icon and an unwelcome browser hijack to searchmobileonline.com from the latest update to 3D Koi Pond Live Wallpaper from A.O.I Studio.

    I trashed the Search icon and uninstalled the app. It had not only changed the browser current home page, but the default home page as well (I use the default browser). In addition to changing the home page from within the browser, I had to also go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> All -> Internet and Clear data, Clear cache, Clear defaults. After a restart everything is fine.

    Well, that is, except since I already uninstalled the app, I didn't get the chance to leave an unfavorable review in the Android Market.

    I guess this could have been worse. It seems that users of the same developer's New Year Snow Live Wallpaper are getting porn ads following their latest update!


    i've tried it - it didnt work - after i did it the browser was ok and then it resumed the hijacked website...

    plz help me!!!
    i have an HTC Sensation XL
    04-17-2012 05:44 PM
  13. YingYangSho's Avatar
    Same problem here, with searchmobileonline. But I don't think just deleting the shortcu tand cleaning the browser will help. I think it's still using our data from browser somehow. Any new solution, guys?
    07-07-2012 11:00 AM
  14. suckaheadphone's Avatar
    I have noticed a new icon on one of my homescreens that has an image of a magnifying glass and a blue background. When you click it, it takes you to a webpage for a website called www(dot)searchmobileonline(dot)com. I don't know how this got there or what, if anything, it does.

    I can't find an app that is associated with it, and tried clearing my cache and re-starting my phone, but it is still there. I did a google search that only provided a little info...that it may have come from an Amazon Free App, and that it may be malicious...but not much more than that.

    I am contemplating a factory re-set, but figured I would ask/consult here before that.

    So, does anyone know anything about it? Will a factory re-set work?
    A factory reset and a new gmail acct. will get rid of it. The man is a genius.
    07-16-2012 09:49 PM
  15. budtkaboy2000's Avatar
    This is happening to me, too -- I got a couple of icons and my default homepage was changed when I downloaded PicStitch. I uninstalled PicStitch and deleted the icons, but no matter what I do, the default homepage won't change. I ran AdPush and and Ad Detector, but they don't show anything. I just did a factory reset this week after my phone was updated to Sense 3, so I wouldn't like to do another one, and I really wouldn't want to do that and use a new gmail account given that I would have to buy some apps again. Has anyone figured a way to fix this outside of doing a reset?
    08-04-2012 11:02 PM
  16. bigdaddytee's Avatar
    I had the same problem, I downloaded Ad Network Detector from Play. It tell you exactly what app is using what ads. Find which one is adding icons and hijacking your browser. Before you delete them, delete all data so it can't keep screwing with you. Problem solved.

    Sent from my (pretty awesome) SCH-i515
    08-05-2012 12:59 AM
  17. davidhopkinson's Avatar
    What do you mean when you say that you "trashed the search icon"? How does one do that, exactly? The search icon does not show up in the list of applications under settings under "internet" or anything else.

    Dave Hopkinson
    09-27-2012 08:07 PM
  18. Gunnar Forsgren's Avatar
    Thanks this helped, browser back to normal
    02-28-2013 06:40 AM
  19. Gunnar Forsgren's Avatar
    The offending software can be described as Adware, more accurately than Malware, and is not considered to be malicious, as much as "in bad form".
    When I open up my browser it redirects it to a new "homepage" and that is malicious enough for me. Ok now resolved thanks to the post by "vomviersen".
    02-28-2013 06:44 AM
  20. denniskcmo's Avatar
    I got the same thing after trying to download a game "Candy Crush Saga" off FB that lead me to download ITunes first to download to my Android. Search engine. I then got that icon and site on m,y mobile. Searchmobile.com online has very little on it and had only 4 apps that won;t go to the site to download. It shows four games as follows> Slotomania-Please Stav Calm- Big Fish Casino-CheapOair Flight Search ( an advertisment I guess. I am not going to try to open it) So look to see if you downloaded a game that it shows and go to the source of it as for me FaceBook. Everytime i oipen the app section of it. It shows a whole set of different games as the one before. Goodluck ! I am going to FB and report this now.
    05-23-2013 10:06 PM
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