IoT / 26 mobile phone models contain pre-installed spyware, research finds
26 mobile phone models contain pre-installed spyware, research finds
3 September 2015
Some mobile devices from manufacturers including Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi have pre-installed spyware in their firmware, according to new research.
Researchers hypothesise that middlemen are suspected to be behind the covert spyware installations.
Device software was modified to steal user data and inject advertising materials without consumer knowledge, providing an illicit way for middlemen to gain extra income.
Security experts G DATA were responsible for the discovery, after finding last year that the Star N9500 smartphone contained extensive espionage functions.
During Q2 2015, the firm saw 6,100 new malware samples every day. It also reported a 25 per cent increase quarter-over-quarter of malware apps and predicted an additional two million new mobile malware apps by the end of the year.
“Over the past year we have seen a significant increase in devices that are equipped with firmware-level spyware and malware out of the box,” said Christian Geschkat, G DATA mobile solutions product manager.
“It can take a wide range of unwanted and unknown actions including accessing the Internet, read and send text messages, install apps, access contact lists, obtain location data and more—all which can do detrimental damage.
“An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide use a smartphone or tablet to go online.
“At the same time, the number of mobile malware apps has sharply increased in the past three years.”