An untold number of cheap Android phones are calling home by sending private data to a Chinese server, a new report by the New York Times claims. The report, the work of security firm Kryptowire, identified malicious software running on some Chinese Android phones.
Phones by the likes of ZTE and Huawei were found to have software running on them that was collecting data such as message logs, location and call details and then transmitting that data back to an unauthorized server located within Chinese borders. That may cause raised eyebrows, and you would certainly be right to be suspicious, but things may not be as nefarious as we may imagine.
The software carrying out the data collection is the work of a Chinese firm named Shanghai Adups Technology Company, and a representative of the software company has been quick to sell the data collection as, “a private company that made a mistake,” and confirmed Adups isn’t connected to the Chinese government.
That may put some minds to rest, but not all. At this point, it is unclear how to tell whether the phone in your pocket is one that has been carrying the software responsible for this unauthorized data collection, but it seems that moves are already afoot to try and minimize the damage.
One US phone company that rebrands phones made in China, BLU, has announced that approximately 120,000 of its phones were impacted. The company has also, importantly, updated those phones to remove the issue.
Android itself has had more than its fair share of issues with security, and when Google allows almost anyone to take Android and alter it for their own purposes, it runs the risk of cases like this rearing their head. Would we be so cautious if the server was located in, maybe, the UK? Possibly not, but with China currently making headlines, there will be a lot of very interested people following today’s news.
(Source: New York Times)
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