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When I woke up this morning, I saw a Push Notification on my phone from 'Facebook' saying something like 'Funny Video'. Accidentally clicked on it and it opened a tab in Chrome from with a URL of something like popads (although not entirely sure that was the link), at which point I immediately closed that tab.

Later today, I got another 'Facebook' push notification saying 'Hot summer, Cool Music!' (attached a couple screenshots of it). Besides for the overall sketchiness of the notification, I do not have Facebook on my phone, so it's clearly not legit.

Push Notification Image

enter image description here

I've had this phone for around 8 months, but this morning was the first time I got one of those notifications. I do not believe that I did anything particularly 'fishy' in the last day or so, and did not (at least knowingly) install anything on to my phone.

Is my phone compromised? What does that mean? What should I do to fix it (and other relevant questions...)?

For reference, my phone is a BLU R1 HD running Android 6.0.

  • I know that one time I had a cheap game installed and it had some questionable access to my devices. Later it had an update and began causing notifications and actually popping up on my screen between loading apps up. Might check recently updated apps? – xorist Aug 27 '18 at 17:47
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I think this answer may be relevant: Find out which app is pushing ads in my notification bar?.

You need to determine where this notification is coming from. One of the answers states:

Beginning with 4.1 Jelly Bean, you can long-press the notification itself. This will bring up a menu with a single item, "App Info". Touch this item and you will go straight to the offending app's management page, where you're just a touch away from "Force stop" and "Uninstall".

So the solution may be, long press the notification to determine its source. Then uninstall the offending application. If you are unable to remove the application, it may be built-in subsidized ad-ware as the other answer suggests.

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  • @Salmononius2, I'd like to know if this solution worked for you – xorist Aug 27 '18 at 17:55
  • Yeah, this was going to be my next course of action when I got another notification like that (I knew of that trick, but it completely slipped my mind at the time). My gut feelng at the time was that I must have picked up some sort of drive-by event while browsing the web. I think at the time I cleared the cache and data from my browser, and I no longer got those notifications. It's been a while since I've seen one of those notifications, so hopefully it's gone, but I will definitely keep this trick in mind in case it happens again. – Salmononius2 Aug 27 '18 at 17:56
  • Odds are, like @mootmoot suggested, it was probably dormant malware. I can't imagine a bad guy wasting drive-by attacks on ad revenue, but I guess there's always a chance. – xorist Aug 27 '18 at 18:01
  • Well, got one of these again today, did the long press, and it alerted me to a preinstalled app named "Preinstall Data2". Can't uninstall it in the conventional way, but was able to disable it, delete any information it had, and limit all its' permissions. Hopefully, that's all the dormant malware I have... – Salmononius2 Sep 2 '18 at 3:40
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Those cannot afford an midrange price ( > US$150 ) smartphone should think twice before getting a low cost too good to be truth smartphone below $80 : the cost is subsidies by ads or some other hidden mean.

Tomsguide show this "Amazon Prime Exclusives" phone BLU R1 HD is rampant with ads. For such phone, it is already notify the user this is an "ads subsidized phone" beforehand. Nevertheless, the misleading ads header are deem illegal, but it is difficult for user to lock the phone and proof it is a malvertisement.

If security is your concern, get an Android one or used iPhone, or even better, get the good old dial up only phone.

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  • I get that cheap phones come with downsides, and I'm totally cool with that, but I don't know if this answer really applies to my current situation. For one thing, I didn't have these notifcations for the first 8 months of using the phone. These also don't seem to be 'regular' ads, but rather something imitating 'Facebook'. Plus, I 'splurged' to get the ad-free version, which is supposed to only come with the extra Amazon bloatware. – Salmononius2 May 29 '18 at 14:18
  • @Salmononius2 Nothing is guarantee even you have the "ad-free" version. It can be i. Dormant features, or ii. An software update may reactivate the ads pushing. – mootmoot Jun 29 '18 at 8:05

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