Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chinese Android smartphone comes with malware preinstalled

If you thought it was annoying enough to buy a smartphone that comes with a set of pre-installed apps you can't (easily) remove - what if you found out it had pre-installed malware as well? That's precisely what seems to be happening with a cheap Chinese smartphone you can easily get online.

If you ever come across the Chinese Star N9500 on Ebay or Amazon, you may want to reconsider it's "good deal" status, as it comes with the trojan Uupay.D that tries to pass as the official Google Play app store, but does a bit more than that, capturing as much of your data as it can and sending it back to a control server in China.

More so, this is quite a nasty piece of work, as it won't be easy to get rid of. You can't simply delete it, as it's part of the system itself, and it also blocks security updates that might render it useless. The only way would be to completely reflash the entire system with a malware-free version (or alternative system like CyanogeMod) - something that most buyers won't even know how to do.

While we try to figure out if this incident was done on purpose or due to a production line blunder that allowed an infected system to be replicated to the product line, it's one example that shows that the best way to deal with devices of less-known sources is to first try it out using a fake/dummy account and scan it for malware with as many tools as you can possibly find - before actually entering any real and important data regarding your true accounts.

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