Hello #GalaxyJ7 fans! This troubleshooting article talks about what you need to do when you find your device infected by malware or ad popups. Aside from providing the solutions to remove ad popups, we also give you a proven way to prevent malware infection from coming back.
Today’s problem: Galaxy J7 keeps showing unwanted ad popups after a software update
Good Afternoon I am sending this email as a last resort to try and get my Samsung Galaxy J7 back to normal. I installed the latest Android Software Update and ever since I now have ads popping up uncontrollably on my phone blocking everything you do and which is proving to be very frustrating. When you click to close it you are immediately redirected to the webpage and then have to back out and close it again. I see the Facebook symbol and Publicis is on top of the screen and then in very small font the arrow & “ads by Google” I have tried everything from Ads Settings off, to installing Ad Blockers, Google Ad Personalisation Turn Off, Soft Factory Reset and now give up. I checked all my apps I had as I know I did not install any new ones and deleted all the one’s from my phone and when I installed “Ad Detector” it picked up that Whatsapp & Music Player as the only 2 left with ads on them. Do I uninstall and reinstall Whatsapp and if I uninstall Music Player how will I get this back as it came out standard with my phone. I really do hope you can help, as I am going around in circles and do not want to mess up anything else on my phone from not doing the right thing. Regards. — Cynthia [email protected]
Solution: Hi Cynthia. Displaying unwanted ads is one of the ways malicious developers do in order to passively gain revenues so it’s not uncommon to experience them from time to time. Even legit looking apps may sometimes force ad popups. In Android environment, one may get his or her device infected with an adware or malware by doing any of the following:
- clicking on a booby-trapped link in an email or web browser
- installing a malicious app
- rooting the device
- flashing a non-official firmware
As Android security evolves to protect users from emerging threats, malicious third party developers also up the ante to neutralize whatever security features your device has. Smartphone security is a constant cat-and-mouse battle at this time so as a user, you also have to make sure that you do your due diligence to protect your own device. If you are not mindful of what website you visit, links you click, or apps you install, there’s a chance that you’ll eventually be hit by malware sooner or later. Lowering built-in security of your Android device by rooting or using custom ROM can also put your device in a vulnerable position (that’s why rooting or flashing non-official ROM is only recommended for advanced, security conscious individuals). We don’t know the complete history of your device so we can’t pinpoint the exact reason why it’s been infected. We know for a fact that official OTA or over-the-air update (from your carrier) or Samsung updates don’t infect devices with ad popups so the source of the virus must be coming from somewhere else. To fix your J7, follow our suggestions below:
Fix #1: Install antivirus
We understand you’ve already tried to remove the ad popups by installing ad blockers, among others, but we strongly recommend that you also scan your device using legitimate antivirus apps. Ad blockers don’t really remove bad apps but antivirus can so you want to make sure that you try the latter first. There are many free antivirus apps from the Play Store so just take your pick and scan your device using any of them. When it comes to antivirus, having more than one does not necessarily mean better. In fact, the opposite is true. Once you’ve taken your antivirus pick, make sure to install and use it without any other similar software. Having at least 2 antivirus apps running at the same time can cause performance or system issues. If one antivirus won’t be able to remove the ad popups, uninstall it and install another one. Do this until the issue is fixed.
Fix #2: Restart to safe mode and uninstall apps
Another effective but less streamlined method of knowing what app may be causing the ad popups is by booting your device to safe mode and then removing suspected apps. When on safe mode, no third party apps and services should be running. Since ad popups can only work together with a third party app or service, you can expect that they won’t be present when your device is on safe mode. If that’s the case, you can do a trial-and-error method of identifying what app is causing the problem.
To boot your phone to safe mode:
- Turn the device off.
- Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen appearing on the screen.
- When SAMSUNG appears on the screen, release the Power key.
- Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
- Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
- When Safe mode appears in the bottom left corner of the screen, release the Volume down key.
- Let your J7 run for a few minutes and check if ad popups show. If the don’t you can bet one of the apps is to blame.
To identify which of your apps is causing the trouble, you should boot the phone back to safe mode and follow these steps:
- Boot to safe mode.
- Check for the problem.
- Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
- After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
- If your S9 is still problematic, repeat steps 1-4.
Fix #3: Factory reset
The best method of cleaning an infected Android device is by wiping it out. Sure, factory reset is tedious method and involves action-intensive preparations like backing up files, apps, etc but it’s a surefire way of getting rid of viruses or malware. We highly recommend it in your case because you don’t seem to know what you did or what app is causing the problem.
To factory reset your J7:
- Make a backup of your personal data.
- Turn off the device.
- Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
- When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
- Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
- Press Power button to select.
- Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
- Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
- When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
- Press the Power key to restart the device.
How to prevent viruses or malware from coming back
Your job in fixing the situation does not end with factory reset. There’s a chance that you’ll fall to the same mistake again after wiping the phone by installing the same bad app, or visiting the same malicious website. There’s only so much that phone manufacturers like Samsung or Android developers like Google can do to help you with your phone’s security. You are the first line of defense of your device. Once a bad app has been installed, or once you’ve clicked on a malicious link, your smartphone will most likely become infected again. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in the same situation and starts blaming something else for it. To save yourself from such pointless trouble, you want to make sure that you are careful with your actions when it comes to app installation or when visiting websites or clicking on email links. You did not mention ever rooting your device or flashing a non-Samsung firmware so we assume your J7 runs the official software.
Be mindful of apps you install
Most viruses or malware are spread by apps nowadays so we want to emphasize that your phone’s security largely depends on the quality of apps you install. If you install apps by impulse, you’ll most likely fail to screen it properly.
One of the best ways to ensuring that you only install good apps is by checking the reviews from other users. If a lot of users are reporting problems with that app, or if there’s a significant number of comments about ad popups showing after installing the app, you better stay away from it. Apps from Google Play Store provides reviews so make use of them to know more about the app.
No such thing as free app
Apps take time, labor, and money to build. Don’t be naive to think that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who wants to invest their resources just to create an app to make anonymous Android users happy. Apps also require maintenance cost in order to continue working. Majority of free apps show legit ads to cover cost but a lot of them also utilize less than ideal tricks to get money. One of such tricks is forcing ad popups be displayed on target devices. Other tricks used by malicious developers is by forcing redirects to Google Play Store page so a user can install a sponsor app. Still, others may directly steal information from a device. If you are serious about blocking ad popups, start by making sure you only install trustworthy apps from reputable developers.