Thursday, September 3, 2015

Android smartphones are being sold with pre-installed malware

We live in a age where many people are highly suspicious of all sorts of electronic devices; and now there's one more report that will contribute to that: with dozens of devices being found with malware pre-installed.

The security firm G Data has found dozens of Android smartphones being sold with malware, from brands like  Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Alps, among others. The devices are being sold as new, but after contacting the respective brands, it seems to be clear that the malware is being installed by a third party further along the supply chain (either during transport, or during the pre-sale process).

So, it becomes even more important to buy devices only from reputable and trustworthy stores with official ties to the manufacturers, and carefully check if the devices are sealed and have all the anti-tampering protections intact.

In any case, this will only serve to contribute to the growing "paranoid" sentiment that we can't really trust our own devices, as they can easily be secretly running all sorts of unwanted programs that allows "someone" to easily spy on thousands or millions of individuals around the world. Maybe a few years from now we'll only be able to trust the open-source code we verify ourselves, and even then, we'll have to trust the compiler and computer we're working on to not inject some malware during the compilation or deployment phase.

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