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I am posting this here to help anyone that makes the mistake of downloading cra.pware such as Bubble Booster.

I go a phone call from an elderly relative (via her landline).

She was unable to use her Android Motorola because of pop ups asking her if she wants to improve the phone's performance, clear caches and so forth. Initially, I thought they bonefide system messages and told her to reboot the phone. That didn't help.

I swung by this morning. On booting the phone, you are presented with messages from apps such as Super Booster which promise to improve the performance of your phone. If you click cancel, or no, it ignores you and other pop ups take up the whole screen. The app/apps override the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen meaning that you can't close them. It also turns on airplane mode, presumably to hamper any AV software on the phone from downloading any virus signatures.

I started by entering the phone settings by pulling down from the top of the screen. I went to apps>notifications in the hope of finding the rogue app but the pop ups meant that I couldn't see the setting after a while.

I had to reboot in safe made. On a Moto, you do a long press on the power button and select the option when it is presented on the screen. Once in safe mode I went back to settings>apps>notifications>all apps. I then scrolled through the list of apps. From memory, I had to delete a total of about 10, they had names like Super Booster, Super cleaner, and so on. I clicked on each instance and selected "uninstall". Any apps that I didn't recognise the name of, I clicked on and if it said "no app notifications in the last week", I left them alone.

I rebooted the phone in normal mode, instantly there was a half screen notification from Bubble Booster offering to speed up the phone. Back to safe mode, deleted that and yet another reboot (this time turning off airplane mode). I then had to tell the phone which home screen launcher to use and noticed notification pings from websites via Chrome. I set the Chrome app to not send ANY notifications.

The phone is now working as it should.

I have just got to the pub and reported the Bubble Booster app via the play store.

If anyone has an android that is being hijacked by a scummy app, use a search engine (on a different device) to work out how to boot in to safe mode. Hopefully, in safe mode the app will not be able to run. Your home screen may look different if you are not using the stock one but by dragging down from the top of the screen you will find the settings icon. Once there look for something like notifications or apps- unfortunately Android varies from device to device on a vendor basis but those are the two places that I would start from. If you are worried about accidentally deleting a system critical app, when you click on it there will not (AFAIK) be an option to delete it, only an option to stop it.

I have only had androids for about 4 years- I came from Windows Mobile (and all the variants there of).

If anyone else has further advice that might be useful, please do post.

BTW the scummy apps do not install icons on the home screen- meaning that you can't delete them from there.
 
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