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Budget Chinese phones come preloaded with malware, steals money and data — report

Chinese-smartphones

Affordable Chinese phones that are seeing shipments across the globe are reported to have malware in them and pose great security risk to those in the low-end market.

Several security researchers have found out that certain low-budget Chinese phones, majority of it belonging to a brand called Tecno, contain malware that steals money from users.

Transsion is the manufacturer for the Tecno mobile devices, particularly the Tecno W2 model, that are seeing wider reach in the global trade.

The identified malware include xHelper and Triada that are known for their malicious and illicit activities, which involve secretly downloading apps on the device and automatically forcing subscription to a paid service beyond user consent. Making matters worse, these malware are not easily removed with just a factory reset.

The issue with smartphone having malware is not necessarily a new thing. Even bigger and established brands, like TCL, also went through a similar issue. 

But, by being able to target the majority poor, it becomes a greater threat than seeing the same scheme on higher-end, more expensive devices that are limited to certain kind of demographics. 

As of writing, the said products are heavily marketed in African countries like Ghana, Egypt, and South Africa as well as certain parts of Asia, including Indonesia and Myanmar.

As many as 844,000 malware transactions have been blocked within the span of December 2019 and March 2020 arising from the issue, as per Secure-D. 

In its defense, Tecno claims that the malware issue is caused by a certain unnamed “vendor in the supply chain process” and that, on their part, have even employed needed measures to address the issues back in 2018 (Triada) and 2019 (xHelper)

Via: BuzzFeed News

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