Suspicious/Disruptive Activity

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Andyroid (nicknamed Andy) was originally a pretty good freeware Android emulator, not having many problems to mention until recently.  The Andyroid emulator runs using VMware, a platform used to run virtual machines on.  While it wasn't required to to have a purchased version of VMware on your system to run Andyroid (seeing as it would download the runtime for you), it did pose a problem if you owned a purchased/updated copy, where that version would get overwritten with earlier installers of Android it auto-downloaded to be run on.  Later Android installers were updated to check for installations of VMware to make sure it wasn't overwriting newer/paid versions & forcing those individuals to have to uninstall the runtime that overwrote their updated version with the forced download to reinstall the newer version, so this situation ended up being resolved later on.

I started using this emulator due to a requirement that Steam put into effect regarding the Steam Authenticator.  It worked well for a time, however after the latest update, I ended up having to reset Andyroid to factory default, which meant I lost my configuration & I now have to re-authorize that security app, meaning another 7 day trade/market hold when I do take the time to deauthorize the old hardware ID & add this new one.  However currently I haven't done it yet seeing as I am waiting for a trade offer to complete, which is going to be a bit problem should I get a counter-offer to that trade, seeing as if I deauthorize & reauthorize that app to be able to respond to the counter-offer, the notice of a trade hold could cause the trade to fail, not to mention the 7-day trade/market ban on reauthorization.  (further details on Steam trade/market holds can be found here)

The suspicious/disruptive activity that is stated in the title of this review comes from after a number of updates, Andyroid will force-download, install & run apps without any confirmation from you, which appears to be a means of gaining income through advertisements that get shoved down your throat seeing as you don't have a say in it if you're using Andyroid.  This might not be such a problem if not for the fact that it will do it without notice & kick you out of whatever you might be attempting to do at the time, which does not make Andyroid an ideal platform to play games on (at least not real-time games, however turn-based might be possible; ironically, most of what Andyroid force-downloads are games, however that's not always the case).  Then consider the fact you might be on a call, chatting with somebody or doing something where a game or something else with audio force-loads out of the blue or you're doing something important that you shouldn't be switched out until you're finished (like a conference call with your company).  Not to mention those with limited bandwidth plans through their ISPs are also using bandwidth they wouldn't use otherwise.  As anybody who uses apps on their phones, they are probably already aware that like Facebook, they're HUGE security risks as well, as most will require access to information on your phone & I can only expect the fact that these potentially unwanted apps are being force-installed through Andy, that they are gaining access to information on the emulator as well without your permission!  This type of behavior is no different than a virus & I can only expect lawsuits may be headed towards Andyroid.net in the future if they don't find a way to mitigate the possibility of compromised personal data.  I wouldn't be the least be surprised if somebody was making a business call & a game popped up in the middle of it, kicking them out of the call, the audio from the game can be heard in the call & they lose that business/employment because of it, which would be the pinnacle of Andyroid that I expect will shut them down due to incoming lawsuits.


8/1/2016 Update

As expected, those apps that are force-downloaded through Andyroid do gain access to your personal information.  The fact that these apps take your information without your permission not only classifies Andyroid as spyware, but the fact that it downloads those apps & loads them without your permission would also classify it as a virus.  So from this point I will be keeping track of those apps that are getting force downloaded & launched, as well as the information that is being stolen from us seeing as Andyroid force-downloads & opts us into involuntary data-collection through these apps:

Force-downloaded
Application
Times
Downloaded
Times
Launched
Times
Interrupted
1248 - Number Challenge v1.1 1 1 1
Checkout 51 v2.9 1 1 0
DH Texas Poker v2.0.3 1 1 1
Easy Money v1.0 1 1 0
LifeTap v1.1 2 1 0
SMASH v4.03 1 1 1
Solitaire v1.14.108 1 1 1

So what it comes down to is if you want to use Andyroid, you take your risks of privacy violation, which means using a new Gmail account that doesn't have your personal information on it might be a smarter alternative, however I have to wonder what else it can grab from other apps you may have on your installation of Andyroid, such as security apps & any other apps that you enter personal account information on.  Should I have an account compromised that I am using with this software, I will be sure to mention it in this review.

What I've decided at this point is any unwanted apps that get auto-downloaded through Andy from this point on, I will find them in the Google Play store & downvote them before I uninstall them from Andy; I'm already taking the time to piece together screenshots of stolen information through Andy because it forced the app on it, stole my personal information & likely kicked me out of whatever reason I started it up for, I might as well go download those apps as well & perhaps I'll start leaving comments why I'm downvoting them also.  I took a little time changing permissions & removing some shuffle apps also (such as Shuffle & Google Games, which I expect might be part of the reason it's happening) as well as a few others that weren't really needed, although I expect Andy is going to reinstall them when I start it up again...


8/8/2016 Update

Directly after making the following statement on the Andyroid app in the Google Play store, I got 3 apps force-downloaded, installed & ran on my installation of Andyroid.  For this reason, I'm going to start logging how many apps get downloaded & ran every time it happens so people are aware of just how bad the situation is:

Date Applications
08/08/2016 1248 - Number Challenge v1.1
Checkout 51 v2.9
Easy Money 1.0
08/10/2016 Solitaire v1.14.108
08/12/2016 SMASH v4.03

NOTE:  Dates listed are when Andyroid was run; if not apps were downloaded in a day that Andyroid was started up (which is unlikely), then a date will be shown without any apps listed.

The last time this happened, I attempted to disable the apps that I expected were to blame, which only gave Andy an easier ability to push this crap updates, so now it's going to be a full deletion of them.  I know how to crash the Andy app on startup of Andyroid if I have to take that route, I might start doing that to prevent this mass-theft of information.  Furthermore, I am now leaving comments on apps that get force-downloaded that it was done without authorization & forced by Andyroid to make it obvious why they are going to start getting bad reputations because of Andyroid's virus-like behavior.


8/10/2016 Update

At this point I've decided that it would probably be better to shell out $200 on an Android phone (even if not using the phone as a phone, but more for apps over my wireless) than using this piece of trash spyware.  I'm first going to look at some pawn shops, then I'll consider getting one at Walmart or online to replace the non-stop downloading of unwanted apps & stolen personal information through Andyroid.

Last updated 8/12/2016


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