Unlock my phone, get full-screen ad from "Internet"

gf1701

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May 8, 2015
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From about the time I bought my Moto Z Play in November, 2017, it has been displaying full-screen ads when I unlock the phone. Not every time, but in the end, the way I use my phone, 3 or 4 times a day. I've tried everything I've learned about (notifications, Malwarebytes, permissions) to get it to stop, and I've failed. The app displaying the ads mimics Samsung's browser, displaying its logo and the word Internet on its title bar.
Android ad producer_Screenshot_20180823-101243.jpg

I don't have a Samsung phone or that browser, and no app with that logo or identifier exists on my phone. I'm stumped. Has anyone ever heard of this phony "Internet" app that displays unwanted ads at unlock, or have any new ideas on how to stop it? Thanks.
 

Rukbat

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That's not at unlock, that's "Recents", the square button on the right. And this is Samsung's internet, available for installation, so maybe you (or someone else) installed it on your phone. Have you tapped it on that screen to see what it does? (Running Malwarebytes and a good antivirus app at the same time, of course.)
 

gf1701

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If it helps, I can take a screenshot of the actual ad that displays when I open my phone. Yes, that is Recents, which I went to in order to find out what app displayed the ad. And as I said in my post, NO ONE installed Samsung's internet app on my phone, it does not show up in apps, including system apps, and I ran Malwarebytes, which found nothing (as did AVG antivirus). I repeat: it looks like Samsung's browser app, but it is not.
 

xeene

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What is the name of the app that shows green 100 in your notification bar?
The ad pop up is from one of the apps you have installed, just have to figure out which one. Most likely its from Chinese developer.
 

gf1701

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That app is Battery Notifier BT Free. It's very favorably rated in the Play Store and has no ads. But I just went to the Play Store page for it, and found the following notice:

INCREASE IN HIDDEN MALWARE WITH OUR NAME IN APK FILES - PLEASE READ

So I will look further into that. I installed the app from Google Play Store, which the author says is the only authorized place to install it. The author also writes that Malwarebytes can detect the malware the bogus APK is installing. I've run Malwarebytes twice and it has not found anything. So I'm a bit dubious that this app is the problem, but it is definitely a possibility that I had not looked into. I'll report back on my findings. Thanks.
 

Javier P

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If it helps, I can take a screenshot of the actual ad that displays when I open my phone. Yes, that is Recents, which I went to in order to find out what app displayed the ad. And as I said in my post, NO ONE installed Samsung's internet app on my phone, it does not show up in apps, including system apps, and I ran Malwarebytes, which found nothing (as did AVG antivirus). I repeat: it looks like Samsung's browser app, but it is not.
Try this, open the recent apps overview, search for that card again, long press the small icon top left (planet) and then tap the 'info' icon. This should show the app that pushed the ad.
 

gf1701

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@Javier P - Great advice: when I long-pressed the icon, it identified the app as Flashlight+. I've uninstalled it. Hopefully, it didn't leave anything behind (scans with several antivirus tools show nothing). I looked at the reviews of the app (overwhelmingly positive), and saw some recent reports from other users who were seeing ads that were identified as from this app. We'll see what happens next. Thank you for your help.
 

Javier P

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@Javier P - Great advice: when I long-pressed the icon, it identified the app as Flashlight+. I've uninstalled it. Hopefully, it didn't leave anything behind (scans with several antivirus tools show nothing). I looked at the reviews of the app (overwhelmingly positive), and saw some recent reports from other users who were seeing ads that were identified as from this app. We'll see what happens next. Thank you for your help.
Glad it helped and thanks for the follow up! As a general rule when uninstalling apps i recommend to force stop and clear data (in settings - apps - select app) before hitting the uninstall button. This process will avoid the app leaving any residual file behind.