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Smartphones from Third-party unofficial websites come with Pre-Installed Malware : Report

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Malware on Smartphones

NOTE: Before you read this article which is about a report from an Anti-virus firm you need to make a note that this report is about the devices purchased primarily through third-party websites & not from the Official stores. There are many International websites like AliExpress, Tinydeal, Gearbest, Geekbuying, etc., where the middlemen might be able to install malware without the information of any entities.

We would suggest all the e-commerce websites selling smartphones to take some countermeasures to tackle such situations. We are not specifically accusing anyone, but just making people aware that it might happen with their handsets when the purchase is made through unofficial websites.

We are living in the world of smartphones, whether you live in a metro city or a rural town you might be aware of this enormously increasing industry shaping the human kind with connections. With fast paced life, people have forgotten to check whether the device they’re using is even safe from the malware attack. We are talking about the devices from brands that have come into a highlight in a recently released report by GData.

The 30 years old Germany-based Anti-virus company, GData has found some alarming results on its research conducted about malware in the smartphones. The company has found pre-authenticated permissions on particular devices that would desolate the data on your smartphone.

The devices from big Chinese brands such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Huawei are listed among many other brands whose smartphones were found to be flavored with the bad taste of malwares.

Below is the excerpt of the infected models including the three smartphone from Chinese brands :

It was not the first time Xiaomi has been accused of something. To ring a bell in your mind, the Chinese tech giant has been accused of stealing user’s data by Indian Army. The company was allegedly sending the data of Mi Cloud from Mi-Accounts on Redmi 1S to its servers in China. Though, it was later resolved as company quoted they’ve made the Mi Cloud optional for devices sold in India.

It is hard for any laymen to understand if the Pre-installed apps that they’re using on their devices are doing such fishy things in the background or not. As the report states, such malwares are hidden inside among popular apps, and a user wouldn’t even notice any abnormal behavior. Howbeit behind those screens, there are hacks going on that one can’t even understand unless made aware.

Below is an image showing the permissions these pre-installed apps would have. In essence, they would be able to access everything and anything from reading text messages to sending them, as well as listening to telephone conversations to recording them using the microphone. So, now you see what these malwares are capable of doing on your smartphones.

App Permissions

According to the report, the company found out a disguised Google Drive app with monitoring function on these infected devices. Android.Monitor.Gsyn.B categorized as a monitor, who would pretend to be the Google Drive app. It would have the similar icon and app identifier, which will made it look like the original app. But apparently that is not the case as it would be monitoring your activities.

Remember, even the most of the legitimate apps in Play Store would ask for a lot of permissions than required. Hence what happens is that it is not always obvious to users that there might be an app on their device that is monitoring the functions. And in turn fooling the users.

Disguied Google Drive App

GData specifically highlighted in the reports that it’s the middlemen who are infecting these boxed handsets but not these reputed smartphone manufacturers. It is highly unlikely that these brands would intentionally install malwares into their own devices. The issue is about the risks these attacks would pose, which a neophyte won’t be aware of.


Some alarming facts highlighted on the GData Report:

  • 6,100 new Android malware instances every day.
  • There were 560,671 new malware samples in the second quarter of 2015.
  • The malware count increased from the first quarter of 2015 to the second is 27 percent.
  • More than 1 million new malware samples found in the first half of 2015, which is 25 percent increase from the second half of 2014.
  • Last year, three devices Star N9500, Star N800 and Icefox Razor were listed in the excerpt of infected smartphones. This year the total number has been increased to 26 smartphones.
  • You can read the full report, GData Mobile Malware Report. Threat Report: Q2/2015, click here.

    Update: Here’s an official statement from Xiaomi on this report.

    The security report clearly states that middlemen are installing such malware and that manufacturers like Xiaomi are not at fault. Unauthorized retailers can inject malware into any device bought from an unofficial channel. This is why we strongly recommend buying Mi phones only through authorized channels such as Mi.com, Flipkart, Amazon or Snapdeal.

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