Spying malware found on Chinese phone brands for sale in Australia – channelnews

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Chinese phone brands load their budget devices with malware to potentially spy on users, it has been revealed.

Security researchers have found that cheap Chinese phones are loaded with malware designed to intrude into people’s lives in particular brands such as Tecno, which are sold in the Australian market without local certification.

The Chinese brand Tecno belongs to the mobile manufacturer Transsion.

Several Tecno W2 phones, shipped to countries around the world, are infected with malware intended to steal money and data from users, Secure-D research shows.

Other Chinese brands sold in Australia include Realme, Oppo, Viacom and Xiaomi and Huawei, Oppo has also been identified by Norton Security as having installed malware.

According to Secure-D, between March and December 2019, it had to block 844,000 malware transactions.

This included malware like Triada and xHelper, commonly found in download apps, they automatically subscribe to paid services.

This often results in unexpected bills and data expense for those already residing in some of the world’s most disadvantaged places, says Secure D.

When a Chinese smartphone with illegal malware is opened, pop-ups will often appear on the screen and cause unwanted apps to be installed.

Making it worse is that they cannot be removed with a simple factory reset, and permissions are often hidden in other legal operations loaded on a device.

Transsion, the Chinese company that owns the Tecno brand, cited an unnamed “supplier in the supply chain process” as the reason for the preloaded malware.

Recently faced with the issue, Chinese management said they provided security fixes for Triada in March 2018 and xHelper at the end of 2019.

This despite the discovery of more than 800,000 malicious transactions six months ago.

But the problem still persists.

Secure-D said it is blocking Triada and xHelper on Transsion phones even as of April 2020, and that it may just be dormant right now until the storm over malware usage ends.

In a discussion thread about the recently announced Norton Life Lock security software, an Oppo smartphone owner wrote, “I updated the operating system of my Oppo Reno Z ColorOS 6 smartphone (customized version of Android 9 Pie). From that moment on, Norton Mobile Security (version 4.8.0.4489) detected the system application “Messages” as malware.

There are several complaints about malware on Oppo smartphones.

Anti-fraud company Upstream found the malicious code on 53,000 Tecno handsets when it investigated the malware problem on Chinese smartphones.

Upstream said Tecno was taking advantage of the “most vulnerable”.

“The fact that the malware comes preinstalled on handsets bought by the millions by generally low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently facing,” said Geoffrey Cleaves, Head of Upstream’s Secure -. platform D.

The Triada malware found by the firm on Android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, invisibly and without the knowledge of the user. user.

If the request is successful, it consumes prepaid airtime, the only way to pay for digital services in many developing countries.

In total, Upstream found what it called “suspicious activity” on more than 200,000 smartphones.

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