A few months ago, it was discovered that Verizon was installing an extremely shady app called "DT Ignite" on some of its smartphones—most notably, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The app, created by Digital Turbine, monitors your smartphone usage, then uses the data it collects to silently install "recommended" apps without notifying you.
The above information is nothing new—we've known about it for months, and we've strongly recommended against buying Android phones from Verizon for this very reason. But just today, many users have reported that DT Ignite installed a batch of these random unwanted apps overnight, so we're finally witnessing Verizon's despicable tactics in action.
Redditor 8bitmantra awoke to find apps like Drop Assault, News Republic, and Yahoo Mail installed on his Galaxy S7 without any interaction from him. Then, wewantthefunk354 found Amazon Prime, Z-Camera, and AppFinder on his phone for no apparent reason. And these two users are certainly not alone, as adocdt, alodev376, and several others have reported the same issue.
Somehow, the most troubling aspect here is not how Verizon is monitoring your every move Big Brother-style, nor is it the fact that these apps are being installed without the user's consent. Instead, the worst thing about this is how DT Ignite will download these "recommended" apps regardless of if your phone's connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data, which can cost you some serious money on your phone bill.
Google user Tracee Jeen, when reviewing the app DT Ignite Detect & Disable, mentioned how Verizon's bloatware system cost her an additional $45 in data overage charges as it downloaded the recommended apps on mobile data. Now this might very well be the true reason behind Verizon installing DT Ignite in the first place—Big Red gets to dig even deeper into your pockets.
Basically, Verizon is triple-dipping here. First, they're collecting usage data through DT Ignite, which they can sell to advertisers for targeted ads. Second, the bloatware apps that are being installed are likely sponsored apps, meaning companies have probably paid Verizon to make it into their "recommended" list. Then finally, they're watching the profits roll in as users are hit with overage fees from DT Ignite downloading apps while they were on mobile data.
What can you do about it? Well, for one thing, you can vote with your wallet and ditch Verizon. If you're an Android user, this is just one of many reasons Verizon should be at the bottom of your list of potential carriers. Others being their excessive pre-installed bloatware, their locked bootloaders, and their terrible track record when it comes to Android updates and security patches.
If switching is not an option, your best bet would be to install the above-mentioned app called DT Ignite Detect & Disable. Once installed, just follow the on-screen prompts to get rid of Verizon's DT Ignite malware, and you shouldn't have to worry about the additional tracking, app downloads, or data overages.