Chinese Android Phone Shipped with Spyware
That cheap smartphone you may have purchased may come preloaded with an unwelcome app - one that can turn your phone into a sophisticated spying device.
German researchers say they found that the Star N9500 Android smartphone, which is a knockoff of the popular
According to German security firm G DATA (https://www.gdata-software.com/newsroom/news/article/android-smartphone-shipped-with-spyware.html), which discovered the malware, personal information collected by the phone is then sent back "to a server located in
The infection is so bad that large online retailers like
"Due to reports that some Star N9500 smartphones are loaded with spyware,
G DATA first became aware of the spyware after receiving tips from owners.
One of the first red flags was that the manuals included with the phone had no information about how to contact the company, said
Urbanski added that in
"They don't have one," he said. "It's very strange."
A deeper analysis revealed that the phones' parts included no information about the manufacturer and many of the serial numbers were peculiar, according to Urbanski.
They then analyzed the phone's firmware and discovered malware called Android.Trojan.Uupay.D, which was disguised as an app in the Google Play store.
According to G DATA, the "spy function is invisible to the user and cannot be deactivated." Furthermore, the program blocks the installation of security updates.
Urbanski said one of the alarming aspects of the phone is the number sold, which is hard to tell. The price for the phone ranges from
"It seems to be one of the best-selling low-cost smartphones," he said.
According to the
While the Star N9500 is currently the focus of attention, Urbanski said G DATA was in the process of analyzing other Star phones as well as other brands to see if they have the same firmware infection. He added that
Cyber security expert
"It is a bit of karma for those who support the supply chain of counterfeit goods, and drives home the point, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is," he said.
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