I was noticing an app that doesn't need Camera access ever having camera access and other spy capable permission.

When I tried to change the permssion there was a overlay text box saying something similar to Screen overlay detected. Change Screen overlay in Setting and when I clicked it, it took me to take Screen Overlay settings.

So, is it possible to prevent the user from changing Permissions and other settings if an app has Screen Overlay permission?


1) User goes into a Setting which spyware doesn't want to change like Camera permission.

2) Spyware uses screen overlay to show a psudo-error message and button to other setting or similar.

3) User clicks the button and is redirected to another setting or app or error.

4) Spyware has succeeded in preventing user from denying it Camera permission.

  • I would use XPrivacy to block unnecessary permissions of apps.
    – defalt
    Mar 11, 2017 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


First, a user should be reviewing permissions for an app. I would never authorize an app to do stuff like overlays or camera access without a good reason; the only permissions I grant are those I expect. Even if the app did get camera permission, there's always increasingly aggressive actions the user could take to resolve the situation.

Keep popping up in Settings to try and stop me? I'll just uninstall you from the Home screen. Try to block my home screen? I can always turn on Safe Mode, then uninstall you. If even that fails, I can just format my device, since I keep cloud backups of my data. Unless the device is in developer mode, I'm fairly confident that there's no such thing as an app that can subvert control of the phone so severely that the user can't fix it.

That said, I've also found no evidence that Android "protects" apps, even the Settings screen, from being overlaid, so a novice might have some trouble getting rid of an app that's gone this far. I'm pretty sure that a savvy user, such as myself, would be able to gain control no matter the situation, but an average user might need technical support.

  • I posted the question on how a malware could do it. You're talking about how you can remove it. I don't just want to remove the spyware. I want to know if it's possible and analayze the malware further.
    – user76223
    Jun 23, 2016 at 8:41

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