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How to remove the qitudorbantu virus from your phone

TLDR: The Barcode Scanner app on android phones includes malware that makes your phone open up spam browser tabs in Chrome while browsing. To solve, simply uninstall the app. Since Android 8 you can read QR codes natively in your built-in Camera app.


I struggled with this issue for a while. I would intermittently open up the Chrome browser on my Google Pixel to find that 10 new tabs had been opened pointing websites with ads and offers of all kinds.

I could see the browser quickly visiting a site address containing the phrase “qitudorbantu” before being redirected off to another site.

If this was happening in Chrome it had to be a bad browser extension or notifications bug, I thought. So I reset the app data completely and tried reinstalling Chrome to no avail. Every now and again I would somehow continue trigger the qitudorbantu loop and end up getting kicked off to ads when I was trying to browse regularly.

Eventually someone on Reddit figured out that the Barcode Scanner app was casuing this. Even after closing the app, it could still run in the background and spit out spam redirects- most likely abusing its permissions to simulate a link click after initial user interaction.

As with most spam attempts, the app publisher is just making a buck by driving traffic to gimmicky pages and collecting affiliate commissions.

Google took forever to remove Barcode Scanner from the app store from this behavior, but there are still ten more just like it out there.

The good news is, you don’t need a QR code scanner at all any more since this functionality has finally become native on just about all phones. Just point your Camera app at a QR code and a button will appear allowing you to follow the link.

Credit to this Reddit thread for helping solve the mystery: https://www.reddit.com/r/antivirus/comments/o5q3ji/help_me_get_rid_of_a_virus_on_my_android_chrome/

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