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Y’all might accept experienced this: Surfing the web on your smartphone and a pop-upwards window appears on the screen, claiming you’ve won a prize or that you lot have a virus and y’all demand to call a tech support number. Or maybe they’re only annoying pop-up ads that won’t get away. What gives? Has your phone been hacked or infected with malware?
Though information technology’due south possible that your smartphone has been hacked, it’s unlikely this would cause a rash of popups. Almost people would never know their phone has been hacked until they run into evidence of their personal data being made employ of, such as charges to their bank account or new lines of credit opened in their name. This is considering a hacker volition run a script to scan the phone for user information and collect that without showing whatever testify of having done so.
However, in that location are several other reasons for an unasked-for window pops upwards on your smartphone. And yes, some of them are malicious. Here’southward how to stop them.
Fake virus alerts
A common scam circulating among both Android and iOS users is the imitation virus alert, a pop-up window that tells the user their device is infected. These alerts oftentimes wait as if they are coming from Google or Apple and unremarkably contain a ‘Remove Virus’ button linking you to a supposed security app or a phone number to call for help. The aim, of course, is to scare the user into downloading malware or, in the case of a telephone number, revealing valuable personal information to ‘tech support’.
How to fix information technology:
Shut down the browser window or tab. Be wary of popups or bad ads that may have fake buttons that resemble the usual close button – if clicked, you could end upwardly downloading malware. It’southward best to avoid interacting with the alert at all.
Alternately, if your browser isn’t locked up, you can simply navigate away from the site, by tapping in a new URL in the toolbar.
Bank check what webpage you lot were browsing and consider fugitive it for a while – information technology may have been hacked in social club to push these malicious alerts.
Finally, avoid accidentally landing on sketchy websites past turning upward the protection in your browser:
On Chrome, head to Settings > Site (or Content) Settings > Block Pop-ups to block these.
On Safari, head to iOS Settings > Safari and toggle on Block Pop-ups and also toggle on Fraudulent Website Alarm.
Unfortunately, in that location’s likewise a risk that pop-upwards yous saw is part of a trend for ‘malvertising’ – where malware makes it into advert networks and are distributed amidst the network’s myriad sites.
Even reputable sites can be hijacked without site admins realizing. Hijacked sites may also redirect you to webpages you never clicked on. These pop-ups and misdirects can continue to plague your browsing experience even later you restart your browser.
How to fix it:
First, make sure you never enter whatsoever information asked for in a popup, or a website that you didn’t specifically navigate to.
If the popups or redirects to another site keep happening, close downward your browser.
On iOS, half swipe up on your iOS device (or double tap your Abode button) to come across all open up apps, then slide your browser app away.
On Android, tap the rightmost square to see all open apps, then movie away the browser app.
Also, clear your browsing data. On Safari, head to iOS Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. On Chrome, open the menu (triple dots), and then Settings > Privacy and Security > Clear Browsing Data.
If your smartphone browser continues to pop up alerts despite taking the above precautions, it’s possible your phone is already infected with a type of malware called adware. Adware causes advertisements to pop up on the infected phone, forcing users to view item pages that earn revenue based on clicks. It can also pop up advertisements for downloadable content such as games, which, if installed, tin can have even greater consequences for users’ information and finances.
Malware tin land on phones through downloading bad apps or by surfing to a website compromised by ‘drive-past downloads’ that let malware to install itself on a user’due south device without the user having clicked on anything.
How to set up it:
To rid your Android phone of malware, the easiest way is to run an antivirus browse with a mobile security app, such as from Avast or Norton.
Nevertheless, if that doesn’t sort out your pop-up problem, you may need to exercise a factory reset that will articulate your phone of all information – including the problematic app and malware.
For to reset your iPhone, caput to Settings > General > Reset and then select Erase All Content and Settings.
To reset your Android phone, head to Settings > System > Reset Options > Erase all data.
Once yous’re cleared, you can focus on prevention: always update your browser and your smartphone Os. Updates usually patch vulnerabilities that tin exist exploited by malware.
We’ve all seen and heard them – huge banners, sneaky auto-playing music, and unasked for popular-up windows are all examples of intrusive ads that disrupt users’ browsing experiences while providing cipher do good to their purveyor. After all, if you’re non liking, you lot’re not clicking.
How to set up it:
On Android: The Chrome browser for Android has a pop-up- and ad-blocker that selectively prevents intrusive ads from displaying, using the standards ready by the Coalition for Meliorate Ads. This should exist on by default, only if yous’re notwithstanding getting obnoxious pop-ups and/or ads, head into Settings > Site Settings and tap on ‘Pop-ups and redirects’ and ‘Ads’ to disable them from displaying. Note that the blocker doesn’t block all ads – only the irritating ones.
On iOS: Chrome on iOS doesn’t have the same ad-filtering feature, but iOS users on Chrome or Safari tin can nonetheless avoid popular-ups. On Chrome, caput to Settings> Content settings > Block Pop-ups; for Safari, head into the main Settings > Safari and toggle on Block Pop-ups.
iOS users might besides desire to check out an ad blocker app, like AdGuard (Free). Once downloaded, y’all can enable them in Settings > Safari > Extensions and toggle on the filters you want to have on.
The near innocuous reason for a popup is that you take allowed a website to push alerts. Sites often request permission to push button alerts of new posts, and you may accept agreed at some bespeak. But fret not:
How to set up it:
On Chrome, tap the 3 dots in the top right, then Settings > Notifications > Sites, where you lot’ll run across a list of sites that tin can send alerts. You can uncheck certain sites or disable them all from showing notifications.
Safari on iOS doesn’t let websites to send these push notifications.
Updated on viii/thirty/2022 with current instructions on handling pop-ups
[Image credit: smartphone with popup ad via BigStockPhoto]
Natasha Stokes has been a technology author for more than 10 years roofing consumer tech issues, digital privacy and cybersecurity. As the features editor at TOP10VPN, she covered online censorship and surveillance that impact the lives of people around the globe. Her piece of work has too appeared on NBC News, BBC Worldwide, CNN, Time and Travel+Leisure.