China leads in the Smart Phone Manufacturing business, followed by few other countries. We have seen not just the most selling devices but also the Apple iPhone is manufactured in China, all thanks to the govt norms, lower costs and the infrastructure available. We have ourselves imported dozens of Smartphones from China in the last few years for either reviewing or hosting giveaways.
During these processes, we ended up buying phones from different eCommerce Retailers who sell phones online at very competitive pricing. You may not be buying a phone directly from China, but you may be buying it from someone who could have got it from there, and that’s the issue. Let’s get into this in detail.
The Bigger Question is Why?
Why do you need to factory reset a brand new phone? Well, the answer is to make sure you are getting the device that is running on software that the respective brand had promised rather than using something that has been modified. You cannot know if its changed or not because there are ways through which software changes can be made.
Let me give you a very simple example. Let us say someone installs a few APK files onto your phone without your knowledge before you buy the phone and these could be the ones that could be logging your keyboard, logging all the activities you do, and that could be indirectly giving them access to your camera. Most of these APK’s could have some generic names that could look like “Phone Service”, “Google App Update” etc.. that you could not have thought. You would just boot up the phone and see that there’s no Google account linked to the phone and no personal information guessing that’s a new device.
Recently while speaking to a friend’s colleague I was able to find a similar experience where there was an unidentified keyboard installed that he thought came out of the box, to later find that most of his activities were logged, and this is when he grew suspicious about this issue. This could happen to you or anyone you know, and one way to ensure that you do not end up in this situation would be buying the phone only from the brand’s official website or authorized partners whom the manufacturers would ship the devices directly. We had already seen some time back that there were many devices from brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo, etc.. that were hacked and primarily because they were purchased from third-party websites.
People who buy devices offline should be more careful because, at most of the stores, the technicians would help the customers setup the account and in these cases without the knowledge of the user, these guys could install anything. Along with this based on the customers requests the salespersons also upload a lot of pirated movies and music files that could also be harmful & this can be skipped by just buying licensed music subscriptions that don’t cost a lot these days.