Android notification spam red star

Android-notification-spam-red-star-featured.jpg

Every now and then a red star icon appears on my brother’s notification bar, as shown below. The message related to this notification is some advert like “Turbo Boost Your Battery”. He has been installing software from doubtful places, so my guess it is some sort of malware he accidentally installed.

I’m not very familiar with Android, but my guess was to identify the process responsible for the notification. So I checked the process list, but nothing out of the ordinary was shown. I tried force-closing all processes (some returned although all of them originated from HTC or his carrier), but nothing made the star disappear. How can the malware be detected and removed?

Definitely looks like a case of AirPush. This is a particularly invasive form of in-app advertising that uses the notification bar, even if the app utilizing it is not actively running. Technicaly it’s not malware but adware, although the way it manifests itself certainly blurs the line between the two. The only way to stop these ads from appearing in your notification bar is to uninstall the application that came bundled with AirPush.

There are several apps on the Market that can help you detect which app uses the AirPush, so that you can uninstall them.

[Edit]
Apparently AirPush gave in to the public outcry and are now providing ways to opt out of their invasive ads: http://www.airpush.com/optout You can either download their “opt-out” app, or manually enter your device’s unique IMEI/ESN/MEID on their site. Personally, I’d still uninstall the bundled app, since both opt-out methods would most likely use bandwidth for connecting to AirPush servers to authenticate against their databases.

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