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Chrome for Android: how to stop spam notifications
Notifications in Android are an important and useful feature. However, the system function is repeatedly misused for unwanted advertising. Many users then suspect that a virus has infected the smartphone. But often the cause is different: A careless click in a browser such as Chrome or Firefox is enough and you have caught the notification spam yourself with a push subscription. We explain how the spam trap works and how you can deactivate the annoying notifications again.
Spammers trick Chrome users with pop-ups
If you haven't installed any dodgy apps, then you've probably caught those annoying advertising notifications in your browser. Because mobile browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox also offer an official function for subscribing to push notifications from individual websites. In this way, you can be notified of new reports by news portals, for example, or via new direct messages on Facebook, Twitter and Co.
But it wasn't long before spammers discovered this feature for themselves. Using appropriately manipulated advertisements, you suddenly confront users with a query on unsuspicious websites "webseite.xy would like to send you notifications". The user can now "To block" or "Allow". Click once incorrectly on "Allow" and you have already subscribed to the spam notifications.
The spammers disguise the feeds for their advertising notifications with supposedly reputable names. These are changed again and again in order to evade countermeasures. Examples of push spam senders include:
The spammers' ulterior motive is clear: The constant popping up of GDPR and cookie warnings makes many users so jaded and annoyed that such queries are often clicked away without thinking. And the spammers trap snaps shut.
Notifications are harmless, the links are not
If you are a victim of the unsolicited advertising described above, then at least one positive note: This is not a virus. You just fell for the spammers' trick. The Chrome notifications in Android are annoying, but initially harmless.
It becomes more problematic when you start to click on the notifications. Because spammers can use it to lure victims to malware-infected websites or into phishing traps. The push messages advertise this with alleged software or app updates and clickbait messages.
Reading tip: Keeping Android Safe - 10 Tips to Keep in Mind
A side effect is that the synchronization between desktop and mobile browser means that spam notifications can also appear under Windows 10, for example. Because a mobile activated push subscription is also displayed on the desktop and vice versa.
How to delete the push subscriptions and stop the spam
To stop the flood of notifications from spammers such as click-now-on-this.online, news-subscribe.com and Co., all you have to do is block the relevant push subscription in the browser. If you do not use the notification function for websites at all, we recommend deactivating it completely. This means that you will no longer be annoyed by the pop-ups.
How to deactivate a notification subscription in the browser apps is explained here in short steps:
Delete push subscription in Chrome for Android (Status: Chrome version 72)
- In Chrome, open Settings
- Navigate to "Notifications" under "Basic Settings"
- Scroll to the "Websites" section
- Uncheck all unwanted websites
If you want to switch off website notifications completely, you can flip the switch for "Show notifications" under Websites. Alternatively, there is another way to deactivate push subscriptions in Chrome:
- In Chrome, open Settings
- Navigate to "Website Settings" under "Advanced"
- Tap "Notifications"
- You will now see an overview of the blocked and allowed website notifications.
- To block an approved website, tap it and either select "Delete and reset" or tap "Allow notifications" under Permissions and then turn off the switch under "Show notifications".
Reading tip:Browser apps for smartphones in comparison
Delete push subscription in Firefox for Android (Status: Firefox Version 65)
- Open the website you subscribed to
- Tap the Control Center icon (lock) in the address bar
- Select "Edit Page Settings"
- Check the box next to "Notifications" and tap on "Delete"
Alternatively, you can also completely deactivate the website notifications:
- Enter "about: config" in the address bar and confirm with Enter
- Find the entry "dom.webnotifications.enabled" and set its value to "false"
- Find the entry "dom.push.enabled" and set its value to "false"
If nothing else helps: delete notifications directly
If subscriptions in your browser are not the cause of the push notifications, the steps outlined above will not help. In this case, you should long tap one of the unwanted notifications until the notification options are displayed (Version: Android 9 Pie).
Reading tip: Disable in-app purchases
You can now either directly select the "Do not show notifications" option or tap the "Info" symbol in the top right corner. The "Info" symbol takes you directly to the Android app info view. Here you can see which app is responsible for the notifications and you can uninstall the app or manage directly under "Notifications" which push notifications the app can send.
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