unknown downloads on wife's android phone

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unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:10 pm

Hi Android Experts,

I've just recently received a bill from our mobile phone provider (telus mobility) and my wife incurred some major data charges ($35) that were completely unanticipated. She has a 50 MB plan. I looked at the online bill which can give a lot of detail, and found that her phone had downloaded over 200 MB on the 13th between 4 and 5 am. Because she and I were asleep at the time, it seems that some unidentified app has done so automatically. She has downloaded a number of free apps, primarily simple games for the kids to play around with. She isn't really much of a tech person, so I can't say for sure what she may or may not have selected during an app installation. I've gone through her app list superficially, and I can't see anything obvious that would be related to the downloaded information.

Does anyone know of a way to trace download/upload activity on android? Any ideas about how to identify the culprit program? Any suggestions about how to avoid this activity in the future? Is there a way to find out the date when an app was installed? If I can't sort anything out, I'll probably uninstall all the particularly useless apps.

thanks for any help,

dave
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:56 pm

Many/most apps can be forced to manual-only update mode, so take a closer look. It's also possible the phone automatically downloaded some sort of OS update, or was attempting to download an app update and timed out several times on an incomplete download, forcing it to start over.

Best thing you can do to ensure no after-hours shenanigans is to locate an app that allows one-touch selecting of mobile data on/off, put a button on the main home screen, and then always shut off mobile data before turning in for the night. That will guarantee that if the phone goes data hunting it will have to do so over WiFi (if available), but will still be immediately accessible for talk and text use if an overnight emergency occurs. Speaking of which, do you have WiFi at home, and is the phone set up to find it?

I actually have an app in my notification bar pull-down that currently allows one-touch cycling of WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, Audio, Data, and 2G/3G but AFAIK this was enabled by Cyanogen Mod, and you probably don't want to root and mod a phone held by a non-techie.
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:38 am

We do have wifi, and I try to use it when doing app updates etc. Normally it isn't turned on because of the battery drain and our typical 'normal' useage of the data. The 50 MB limit is never normally an issue.

I'm going to take a look into your suggestion for a mobile data on/off button. Now that i have some time over the wknd I'm going to try to track down the files downloaded, or see what apps are on the phone more specifically. I'll update this post with what I find. If anyone has any other useful suggestions, I'd appreciate them.
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:37 am

ludi wrote:Best thing you can do to ensure no after-hours shenanigans is to locate an app that allows one-touch selecting of mobile data on/off, put a button on the main home screen, and then always shut off mobile data before turning in for the night.

Users really shouldn't need to do this to avoid getting whacked with random unexpected download charges...
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:41 am

just brew it! wrote:
ludi wrote:Best thing you can do to ensure no after-hours shenanigans is to locate an app that allows one-touch selecting of mobile data on/off, put a button on the main home screen, and then always shut off mobile data before turning in for the night.

Users really shouldn't need to do this to avoid getting whacked with random unexpected download charges...

It's just like any other computing device -- if any sort of automatic updating is enabled, then munch munch gulp. And since Android's global app policies are a bid disjointed and difficult to find in the configuration menus, simply locking out the data channel when the user is certain not to need it, is probably the most effective way to ensure no unwelcome behaviors.
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Go to "My Apps" in the Market application and turn off "Automatic Updating".
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:57 pm

I got an app a while back called the "RadioOpt Traffic Monitor Widget." It breaks down mobile and wifi data usage, and tries to track data usage for individual apps. It isn't perfect - Pandora lumps the streaming music into the android.system category, and only registers data used for ads, but it is better than nothing.

I just got it because Boost doesn't tell you what your usage is, and I wanted to know. :)
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:42 pm

https://market.android.com/details?id=n ... hdog&hl=en

That is app that will keep track of your data usage based on your own parameters.

To avoid apps guzzling up data you can turn off auto-sync and background data. Both of these can be turned off in the settings menu under the account/settings area.

200MB is a lot of data for just an hour regardless. System updates aren't even usually that big.
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:25 am

Hey experts, thanks for all the great advice. I installed the built-in HTC widget for turning on/off data transfers. Seems to work well, and lets the phone keep working as a phone.

Doing some searching on the phone, I was able to track down a 80 and a 50 MB file in the directory for a game called 'Mystery of the Crystal Portal' that my wife had downloaded. These files are huge for downloaded game - there should be a warning in the app description. When I read through the comments on the game, there were a number of 1-star ratings that complained about continued download fails (~70% complete) and then download restarts. I can only imagine how much data could have been downloaded...

There was another game directory that had a some large files. There was almost 100 MB of data for Asphalt 5, a racing game. The 1-star review comments for this game also mention the large download sizes! Both of these games had been downloaded because we went on a trip to England and she thought the kids would like them to play.

Again, thanks for the advice on controlling app downloads/updates.

dave
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:38 am

Mabey you were sleeping and she was watching some pron,check browser history:) joking but anythings possible.Plus the previous posts.
I heard androids are data hogs.
Does your home/flat or whatever have wifi? Do andriod phones automaticly switch to wifi when signal is in range like iphones?
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:00 am

vargis14 wrote:Mabey you were sleeping and she was watching some pron,check browser history:)

This was my first idea as well. Since the early days of internet computing - if there is a huge unknown traffic going on, look for porn, or some sort of porn gadgets :lol:

But if seriously, yes, smartphones are very dangerous because of silent downloads. Every freaking thing on them wants to go online, without even thinking about asking for permission. This can get super bad if you travel abroad and Opera or something decides that it's a good idea to download multi-megabyte update via roaming networks, charging over 50$ per MB.

vargis14 wrote:I heard androids are data hogs.

I battled this problem with not agreeing to any any "do you agree to transfer blablabla, which can happen while no apps are running", not agreeing to any updates, data transfer or synchronization, and not joining the app market. Also, I turn off the network most of the time. That of course means that the device turns into a good ol' brick phone on steroids, and cuts down most of the fancy features. But since I only use it for tethering and internet browser while I'm not at home, it works out ok.

Software installation is also a huge problem, APK's are pretty much unavailable outside App Market.

I have to praise Mozilla, Adobe and some opensource projects for supplying APKs on their websites, but most of the companies only offer downloads through App Market. Which means you either have to agree to infest your phone with legitimate malware/spyware/trojans, or you can't use most of the phones features.

Download something like https://market.android.com/details?id=j ... ndroidterm
And run a "top -n 1", you'll see that a lot of apps register as services, even if they are not reported as running through GUI.

And the worst part is that I can't root my phone to get access to something like "sudo kill -9 pidofaprocess", without specialized hardware (Wildfire S) :(
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Re: unknown downloads on wife's android phone

Postposted on Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:53 pm

Believe me, I'd be happy to pay the extra data charges if they were due to downloaded pron...
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