Thursday, September 03, 2015
Chinese Android smartphones now shipping with pre-installed malware
According to a newly published report on mobile malware from researchers at G Data, "well over 26" smartphones have been discovered shipping complete with pre-installed malware in the device firmware. Earlier this year the same company revealed the presence of adware on Android devices, along with 'potentially unwanted programs' or PUPs. Now it says that monitoring applications – aka spyware – to collect data without the smartphone owner realising, along with other malware, is also becoming a problem on certain Chinese handsets. The shipping of mobile devices with pre-installed malware is nothing new, certainly not to me. Some eight years ago I won an award for my investigation and subsequent breaking of a news story involving TomTom GO 910 satnav units that came with a bunch of Trojans right out of the box. Back then, although never actually confirmed, it appeared that the malware was most likely introduced through the quality assurance process ironically enough – random units taken off the production line and plugged into an infected computer for testing. This was what you might call an accidental infection.