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How to remove apps force-opening update-for-today.com scam website?

Also Known As: update-for-today.com pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is update-for-today[.]com?

Update-for-today[.]com is a deceptive website promoting various scams. At the time of research, this site ran a scheme targeting Android device users. The scam implies that the device's cleaning/protection software (essentially, the anti-virus tool) is outdated.

Schemes of this type are commonly used to push a variety of untrustworthy software, including: fake anti-viruses, adware, browser hijackers, and other PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). In some cases, these scams even proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Access to deceptive sites is usually gained via mistyped URLs, redirects caused by intrusive ads or by PUAs already installed onto the system.

The scam promoted on update-for-today[.]com displays two pop-up windows. The pop-up at the top of the page informs visitors that they need to update their "Android Cleaner". Doing so will supposedly improve the mobile phone's performance and battery life.

The pop-up window in the middle of the page, states that there is a recommended update for users' Samsung devices. The fake alert claims that due to the latest issues with visitors' phones (specified as "Samsung SM-A307FN"), new "Android Cleaner" updates have been released.

According to the pop-up, installing these updates will enable users to detect all viruses and potential threats present in the systems, remove junk files, and as a result - improve the devices' performance. This pop-up also contains a countdown clock intended to alarm visitors and trick them into immediate action.

As mentioned in the introduction, all of the information provided by update-for-today[.]com is false. Furthermore, no website can actually detect threats/issues present on visitors' devices. Therefore, any that make these claims are scams and cannot be trusted.

Schemes of this kind are designed to promote unwanted and malicious software. To summarize, by trusting such scams, users can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. PUAs typically appear legitimate and offer various "useful" functionalities.

However, the promised functions are rarely operational. Fake anti-virus tools are prime examples of this type of PUAs. Fraudulent anti-viruses need to be activated (i.e., purchased) to perform the promised features, yet following activation - they remain nonoperational.

Unwanted applications can also have unmentioned, heinous functionalities. They can force-open unreliable, misleading, deceptive/scam, and malicious webpages (e.g., update-for-today[.]com). Adware-types run intrusive advertisement campaigns (i.e., deliver various ads).

Intrusive adverts diminish the browsing experience, promote untrustworthy/malicious sites, and some can even be triggered (by being clicked on) to stealthily download/install software. Another type of PUAs called browser hijackers, operate by making modifications to browser settings and restricting/denying access to them - in order to promote fake search engines.

The promoted web searchers are seldom able to provide search results, so they redirect to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate search engines. Most PUAs (regardless of type) can track data. Information of interest includes: browsing and search engine histories, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details.

The gathered data is then monetized by being shared with third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Therefore, it is strongly advised to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

update-for-today[.]com scam website

Threat Summary:
Name update-for-today.com pop-up
Threat Type Android malware, malicious application, unwanted application.
Detection Names Cyan (Malicious), ESET (Malware), Fortinet (Phishing), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address 45.32.88.145
Symptoms The device is running slow, system settings are modified without user's permission, questionable applications appear, data and battery usage is increased significantly, browsers redirect to questionable websites, intrusive advertisements are delivered.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, deceptive applications, scam websites.
Damage Stolen personal information (private messages, logins/passwords, etc.), decreased device performance, battery is drained quickly, decreased Internet speed, huge data losses, monetary losses, stolen identity (malicious apps might abuse communication apps).
Malware Removal (Android) To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Android device with legitimate anti-malware software. We recommend Avast, Bitdefender, ESET or Malwarebytes.

"Spin The Wheel", "Win The New iPhone 12", "Pornographic Alert", "Required video codec is not installed on your computer" - are some examples of online scams. The Internet is rife with schemes, and they use varied techniques to gain and abuse users' trust.

Popular scam models are: alerts about outdated or missing essential software, warnings concerning (potential) system infections, fake prize giveaways and raffles, unbelievable deals and offers, etc. Regardless of what online schemes claim, request, or demand, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue for the scammers/ cyber criminals behind them.

Due to the relative prevalence of deceptive/scam pages, it is highly recommended to exercise caution when browsing.

How did potentially unwanted applications infiltrate my device?

Select PUAs have "official" promotional/download webpages, which are often pushed by deceptive/scam sites. These applications are also distributed via download/installation setups of other programs. This false marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling".

Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts spread PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Furthermore, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources.

Untrustworthy download channels, like: unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), and other third party downloaders - tend to offer harmful and/or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions, and so forth. Intrusive advertisements appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to highly questionable webpages (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).

In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be inspected and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it.

Text displayed in the scam promoted by update-for-today[.]com website:

Pop-up at the top of the page:

 

Update your Android Cleaner right now to improve performance of your phone and improve battery life.

 

[CANCEL] [UPDATE!]

 

----------------------------------

 

Pop-up in the middle of the page:

 

It is recommended that you update the Cleaner for your Samsung!
Due to the latest problems with Samsung SM-A307FN, we have released an update of the Android Cleaner which will find all viruses and potential threats and will also clean junk files and improve battery life.

 

Update right now to boost your Samsung SM-A307FN and improve performance of your phone and improve battery life.

 

Install the recommended app for FREE to clean and strengthen your Samsung immediately!

 

3 minutes 10 seconds

 

Install Cancel

Quick menu:

Delete browsing history from the Chrome web browser:

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Clear browsing data", select "ADVANCED" tab, choose the time range and data types you want to delete and tap "Clear data".

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Disable browser notifications in the Chrome web browser:

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "Settings" in the opened dropdown menu.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Site settings" option and tap it. Scroll down until you see "Notifications" option and tap it.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 3)

Find the websites that deliver browser notifications, tap on them and click "Clear & reset". This will remove permissions granted for these websites to deliver notifications. However, once you visit the same site again, it may ask for a permission again.

You can choose whether to give these permissions or not (if you choose to decline the website will go to "Blocked" section and will no longer ask you for the permission).

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Reset the Chrome web browser:

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Chrome" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "MANAGE STORAGE", then "CLEAR ALL DATA" and confirm the action by taping "OK". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

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Delete browsing history from the Firefox web browser:

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Clear private data" and tap it. Select data types you want to remove and tap "CLEAR DATA".

[Back to Table of Contents]

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser:

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Visit the website that is delivering browser notifications, tap the icon displayed on the left of URL bar (the icon will not necessarily be a "Lock") and select "Edit Site Settings".

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

In the opened pop-up opt-in the "Notifications" option and tap "CLEAR".

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Reset the Firefox web browser:

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Firefox" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "CLEAR DATA" and confirm the action by taping "DELETE". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Uninstall potentially unwanted and/or malicious applications:

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see a potentially unwanted and/or malicious application, select it and tap "Uninstall". If, for some reason, you are unable to remove the selected app (e.g., you are prompted with an error message), you should try using the "Safe Mode".

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Boot the Android device in "Safe Mode":

The "Safe Mode" in Android operating system temporarily disables all third-party applications from running. Using this mode is a good way to diagnose and solve various issues (e.g., remove malicious applications that prevent users you from doing so when the device is running "normally").

Booting Android device in Safe Mode

Push the "Power" button and hold it until you see the "Power off" screen. Tap the "Power off" icon and hold it. After a few seconds the "Safe Mode" option will appear and you'll be able run it by restarting the device.

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Check the battery usage of various applications:

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Device maintenance" and tap it.

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Battery" and check the usage of each application. Legitimate/genuine applications are designed to use as low energy as possible in order to provide the best user experience and to save power. Therefore, high battery usage may indicate that the application is malicious.

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Check the data usage of various applications:

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Connections" and tap it.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Data usage" and select this option. As with battery, legitimate/genuine applications are designed to minimize data usage as much as possible. This means that huge data usage may indicate presence of malicious application. Note that some malicious applications might be designed to operate when the device is connected to wireless network only.

For this reason, you should check both Mobile and Wi-Fi data usage.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 3)

If you find an application that uses a lot of data even though you never use it, then we strongly advise you to uninstall it as soon as possible.

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Install the latest software updates:

Keeping the software up-to-date is a good practice when it comes to device safety. The device manufacturers are continually releasing various security patches and Android updates in order to fix errors and bugs that can be abused by cyber criminals. An outdated system is way more vulnerable, which is why you should always be sure that your device's software is up-to-date.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Software update" and tap it.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Download updates manually" and check if there are any updates available. If so, install them immediately. We also recommend to enable the "Download updates automatically" option - it will enable the system to notify you once an update is released and/or install it automatically.

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Reset the system to its default state:

Performing a "Factory Reset" is a good way to remove all unwanted applications, restore system's settings to default and clean the device in general.

However, you must keep in mind that all data within the device will be deleted, including photos, video/audio files, phone numbers (stored within the device, not the SIM card), SMS messages, and so forth. In other words, the device will be restored to its primal state.

You can also restore the basic system settings and/or simply network settings as well.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "About phone" and tap it.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Reset" and tap it. Now choose the action you want to perform:
"Reset settings" - restore all system settings to default;
"Reset network settings" - restore all network-related settings to default;
"Factory data reset" - reset the entire system and completely delete all stored data;

[Back to Table of Contents]

Disable applications that have administrator privileges:

If a malicious application gets administrator-level privileges it can seriously damage the system. To keep the device as safe as possible you should always check what apps have such privileges and disable the ones that shouldn't.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Lock screen and security" and tap it.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Other security settings", tap it and then tap "Device admin apps".

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 3)

Identify applications that should not have administrator privileges, tap them and then tap "DEACTIVATE".

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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