Thanks for the suggestions. The pop-up has nothing to do with my browser settings or cookies, and, since I have hundreds of apps installed, it is infeasible to try uninstall and install one by one to identify the offending app (because apps get updated often, last in first out won't do the trick either).
Luckily, I finally managed (I think) to figure out which app the pop-up is associated with by going to the play store and read the user comments on a few dozen apps that I had had some suspicion. Viola! I came across a complain about one app with a similar pop-up problem. I've uninstalled the app and hope for the best.
What's worrisome about this particular pop-up is that it would appear even when no active programs are running, so it must be launching itself on a random timer. Should Android address this issue by finding a way to block auto-launching apps?
We're glad you were able to get to the bottom of this. Do you mind sharing which app it is in case other users stumble upon the same issue? An anti-virus app may be a good idea or even Look Out as picekw recommended.
Where is this notification/popup occurring? Notification bar or right on the front of your screen?
If it is notification bar the answer is simple:
- Long press Notification
- tap App Info
- Disable notifications (or better yet- uninstall application).
If it is on the front of your screen it should show in your list of running apps at that moment.
Press and hold home
Tap Application manger on the bottom left
Tap Active application
A common misconception with the Android operating system is that you need an antivirus application. Viruses are very, very rare for Linux based operating systems (like Android). In the last 6 years I have seen a grand total of 1 virus on Android devices. This virus was shipped with the microSD card and did absolutely nothing to your phone. It would however end up on your PC after plugging in the USB cord and steal your MMO password.
Malware however is different and something to be aware of. These are applications that perform tasks or operations outside of the user control (generally) to the users detriment. When Malware does show up on the Play Store and is installed by customers there is an easy way to handle this. Do nothing! Google has a master kill switch and will pull the malicious application off of all Android devices. This has occurred a few times in my experience.
Here are some best practices for Android safety.
- Keep a screen lock on
- Watch what you install... read reviews, check the permissions it asks for during the install process.
- Keep the option to install "Unknown Sources" off.
- Keep USB debugging off.
- Don't let others use your phone!
As I mentioned in my original post, the pop-up is full screen, and indeed it would show up on the list of apps when you press and hold home. However, I was not able to remove this unwanted app and it would pop up randomly even when there were NO active apps running. When I went to the app manager and looked at the list of all downloaded apps, it was not there.
As I also indicated earlier, this unwanted app was downloaded without my knowledge when I downloaded another app with which it (the unwanted app) was associated. Once lodged on my phone, it probably operated in a stealth mode and auto-launched itself on a timer.
The bottom line is that Google should find a way to prevent any app in the Play Store from downloading an unwanted associated app to a phone without the phone owner's permission.
picekw is correct that permission has to be explicitly given during the install process of the application.
"The bottom line is that Google should find a way to prevent any app in the Play Store from downloading an unwanted associated app to a phone without the phone owner's permission."
This is currently in place. Make sure that "Unknown Sources" is not checked in Security and USB debugging is off. Only download applications from the Google Play Store and you will never have this issue. If unknown sources or USB debugging is checked then the scenario you described is possible (would still take you through the app permissions screen most likely).
That info doesn't help you too much at this point so how about this- obviously you are having an issue with your device and we want to take care of it for you. The application you installed appears to be, at best, borderline Malware.
So confirm your security settings, let me know the name of the application and I will look into it for you and we can hopefully find out what is going on.
Sorry you are having these issues at all notedagain,
All my apps have been downloaded from the Play Store, and I never enable USB debugging except when transferring files between my phone and PC.
Since this unwanted pop-up (which operates like an app on a timer) got downloaded to my phone without my knowledge when I downloaded another app called Live TV HD developed by one Shailendra Dubey (a user complained about the same experience), there is clearly a vulnerability that Google has not addressed.
I noticed that there are quite a number of apps in the Play Store with the developers' names being variations of Dubey. I suspect all such apps are risky. I won't bother to try them out, but Google definitely should, as well as try to close the hole.