Chinese Smartphone Found Stealing Money From Users With Preloaded Malware
Chinese smartphones have flooded the markets of developing countries where they lure buyers by offering great specifications and features for relatively cheap when compared to other smartphone makers in the market, but all of this comes at a price.?
Mobile security service provider Secure-D and Buzzfeed have discovered that a Chinese smartphone brand dubbed Tecno has been stealing not just user data, but also their money, with malware pre-installed on its devices.?
The malware in question was xHelper and Triada that would secretly download apps and subscribed users to paid services without their knowledge. Secure-D through its system was able to block 844,000 fraudulent transactions connected to preinstalled malware on Tecno phones between March and December 2019. The phone company is popular in nations in Africa, Indonesia as well as India.?
Chinese smartphones have stolen a lot in the past
This obviously isn’t the first instance of Chinese smartphones stealing data. A report from German security company G Data has revealed how knock-off Chinese phones that look like Samsung Galaxy phones, sold for cheap on eBay came embedded with harmful malware that would snoop and steal personal data from the phone and send it to an anonymous server in China. The malware was also capable of installing apps which could include viruses without the users’ knowledge or control.
In 2016, a New York Times article revealed how Chinese smartphone maker BLU would send personal and behavioural data of the smartphone to servers back in China. Discovered by cybersecurity firm Kryptowire, the software shared contents of text messages, contact lists, call logs, location information and other data to a Chinese server, without intimating or informing the user.?
BLU later confessed that this was a mistake and the American variant of the device wasn’t supposed to have this software installed. They did send OTA to disable this feature in the future, but imagine the kind of data that would have been transmitted till the OTA was rolled.?
Also, how can we forget about Xiaomi, accused of stealing and sending user data from users in India, where it allegedly could track everything a user would do on its phone -- be it browsing on the Mi browser or downloading/accessing files in a specific folder.?
Such instances only make one think twice or even thrice, before opting for a feature-loaded budget smartphone from Chinese smartphone makers.