We have been constantly reminding Andoid phone users to be very careful when downloading and installing apps. It has come to a point of being paranoid about security.
How about a malware that came pre-installed when you bought your smart phone? What if what we feared most is all true?
It has been detected last year that pre-installed spyware was found on more than 700 million BLU branded android phones that was silently sending out data a server in China.
Recently, security researchers from Check Point detected severe malware infections in 36 Android gadgets belonging to a “large telecommunications company and a multinational technology company.”
It did not come as a surprise for them since they say that this practice is not unusual. What is alarming is that the malicious apps came pre-installed. It is not port of the phone’s official distributed ROM. Somewhere along the way, before reaching the consumer, these apps have been added.
Six of the malicious apps that have been found have been given system privileges that renders them un-removeable by the user. Only way it can be removed is by doing a full firmware re-flash.
Pre-installed malware seemed to be of trhe info-stealer category and more on adware. Check Point warned and they identified the ad-bot malware Loki as the most notable of the bunch.
Samsung, Lenovo, Google, Oppo, Asus, Vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE are a few of the infected ones. It just means that malware was injected at some point between the phone vendor and the corporate users of the infected devices.
These threats are hard to detect since you would hardly notice any malicious activity since the phone already came with it.
It is definitely a different scenario since the original firmware has been tampered with.
We should be alarmed about this because it raises alarming issues regarding mobile phone security. Users will not be aware that their devices might contain backdoors or are rooted without them knowing it.
The security firm recommends that “users should implement advanced security measures capable of identifying and blocking any abnormality in the device’s behavior.”
It would be wise to install mobile security and antivirus apps to counter this threat and scan your Android smartphones before beginning to use them.