There might be some apps on your smartphones, which are previously installed by the manufacturing companies. These apps generally are not removable and all the struggle of uninstalling them goes in vain. After some period of using the smartphone, they start consuming memory and RAM of your phone, and deceasing performance of the phone. Apps that are don’t required and can’t be uninstalled are “Bloatware”.
Initially, bloatware were software which took excessive amount of RAM and storage either in PC or Smart Phones, which evolved to be the apps that are installed without permission. Bloatware are commercial software which, are “not installed with the intention” that users would use them. Rather, they are installed on the behalf of agreement between manufacturers and app developers. The app developer pays a set of amount to the manufacturer, if the manufacturer puts their app on customers’ phones. Typically, these apps are aimed to provide users, a new experience, which might be either games, word processors, pdf viewers, wallpaper picker, and even social media apps.
Manufacturers generally embed their bloatware into stock ROM. Thus, the app becomes a part of system software itself and can’t be installed without rooting the smart phone. Embedded bloatware wastes the computing power of device, making the device slower and reduces the smoothness of device. Sometimes, the bloatware even forces the user to upgrade in order to run the latest software. Regarding the drawbacks of embedded bloatware, developers came up with “Cloud-Based” softwares.
Well then, are bloatware some kind of malware or viruses? Are bloatware loaded with virus then? As they are generally ignored by users, there might be chances of developer hiding some kind of malicious software that might show advertisement coming out of nowhere, steal users’ sensitive information or even hijack users’ android. Android is an open source community, many malicious entities took advantage to hide malware among basic apps arriving with the newly boxed devices.
Project Zero, Google ‘s own security research team found out that millions of new Android phones are loaded with malicious software. Maddie Stone of Project Zero, stated that mobile devices have 400 factory installed apps, which are often ignored by users thinking that they are part of operating system. Researchers concluded that particularly two types of malware are linked with bloatware in android viz. Chamois and Triada. Chamois generates unnecessary advertisements, and responsible of installing background apps, downloading suspicious plugin and sending text message from device. Chamois is found to be installed in 7.4 million Android devices. Triada, is an older variant of Chamois, responsible for displaying pesky ads and installing apps in background.
Google stated that more than 200 android manufacturer which are running on Android Open Source Project (ASOP), are vulnerable to this threat. Google has badged the android brands and successfully reduced Chamois infection from 7.4 million to 700,000. If symptoms like aforementioned are noticed, user are requested to remove factory installed apps by:
- Step 1 : Root the device
- Step 2 : Back up the important files
- Step 3: Use of Bloatware removal tools or Installing a Custom ROM
Besides “suspicion to malware”, if users’ are interested to remove bloatware, there are tons of site with detailed guidance for removal. But, for removing bloatware, the device must be rooted. If rooting is an issue to your device, primarily, one can just disable the app from the setting of device. The disabling ceases the unnecessary background consumption of data and battery, optimizing the device performance.