Tech

Cheap US Smartphones Pre-installed With A Secret Feature, Personal Data Sent To China

By Jiran , Nov 16, 2016 05:53 AM EST
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A security firm revealed that a number of cheap phones were pre-installed with a secret feature. This backdoor is said to send the user's personal data to a third-party company in China.

High-end smartphones cost a lot of money. Not many people can afford to buy one. Others are left with cheap smartphones with a price of around $50. However, users are unaware of the risk some of these Android smartphones pose.

The Privacy And Security Risks Of Some Cheap Smartphones

According to TechCrunch, security firm Kryptowire discovered that some Android smartphones in the US are pre-installed with a commercial firmware. This causes the user's personal data to be secretly sent to a third party company in China.

Among these data include the user's text messages, call logs, contacts and apps usage data. A person's privacy is not the only thing at risk. The location of the user is also transmitted. This could threaten the person's security if the data is being used wrongly.

The Threat In Your Smartphone

The pre-installed software is apparently written by Shanghai Adups Technology. The company revealed that its code is running on more than 700 million phones, cars and other smart devices. According to The New York Times, American manufacturer BLU Products shared that they have 120,000 affected phones. Though they said that the software has been updated to eliminate the threat.

The list of affected phones has not been released to the public. The US government has yet to determine the extent of this issue. It remains to be known what is being done exactly to the data. It is also unclear if the Chinese government has something to do with it.

American Phone Manufacturers Got Blindsided

Manufacturers are oblivious of this backdoor on their phones. However, Florida-based BLU Products Chief Executive Samuel Ohey-Zion pointed out that they moved very quickly to address this problem. He was reassured by Adups that those personal data taken were already destroyed.

The New York Times further reports that Adups has taken responsibility of this secret feature. Lawyer Lily Lim, who represents Adups, admitted that the company made a mistake.

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