Chinese smartphones come with built-in spyware



How can you infect your smartphone with malicious software without downloading dozens of questionable apps? Simple. Buy a phone that’s already infected!

Related: Amazon’s Fire Phone 4 hits, a miss, and a wild card.

Yes folks, spyware already comes preloaded on the Star N9500 and possibly the Orient N9500, Android smartphones manufactured in China and sold on Amazon and eBay.

According to a German security company G Data, the spyware, called Uupay.D, is capable of intercepting personal data transmitted over the phone, such as banking data, phone calls, email messages and text messages. It then transmits that data to a server in China. G Data said Uupay.D can also remotely control the phone's camera and microphone and covertly install more malware onto the device.

And if you were worried about accidentally deleting the spyware, don’t worry, Uupay.D is embedded in the smartphone’s firmware at the factory and can’t be uninstalled.

The smartphones are still on sale online and G Data's researchers suspect their low price and high-end specifications may be offset by the reselling of personal data stolen from unsuspecting users.

This is either the dumbest idea since William Shatner decided he was a singer, or a devilishly clever plan to monetize security flaws.

Related: Attorney General weighs in on Apple eBook price-fixing

We all know that hackers and cyber criminals are unreliable. They make threats and then don’t follow up on them. They launch attacks at random targets and they are notoriously secretive about how to get in touch with them. How are you going to keep your malware up to date if you can’t find the perpetrators or if they are in jail? And you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to send your credit card and other personal information to China.

Obviously this is an inefficient system and needs someone to step up and make sure our smartphones have the latest and greatest spyware and also make it easier to share our data with the good folks in Beijing. 



Guy Wright

Guy Wright has been covering the technology space since the days when computers had cranks and networks were steam powered. He has been a writer and editor for many of the most influential publications over the years – publications that helped shape our current technological zeitgeist. He has lost count of the number of articles, blogs, reviews, rants, and books that he has published over the years, but he hasn’t stopped learning and writing about new things.


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