Expert Reaction On Chinese Smartphone Maker Selling Devices With Malware Pre-installed

Pre-installed malware that signs mobile users up for subscription services without their permission has been discovered on thousands of low-cost smartphones from the Chinese manufacturer Transsion. The discovery was made by Upstream’s anti-fraud platform Secure-D whose researchers conducted a full investigation into the origin of the suspicious transactions detected by its platform. Beginning in March of last year, the firm discovered and blocked an unusually large number of transactions originating from Transsion Tecno W3 handsets in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa with additional fraudulent mobile transactions detected in another 14 countries.

Experts Comments

August 26, 2020
Chris Hauk
Consumer Privacy Champion
Pixel Privacy
Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened. What's even more unfortunate, this affects the buyers of low-end smartphones in poorer countries, which are those that can least afford it and are likely less tech-savvy. If at all possible, I urge smartphone buyers to restrict their purchases to well-known vendors. Also, users should always immediately install reliable antivirus and anti-malware software that can identify and protect against malicious apps such as.....Read More
Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened. What's even more unfortunate, this affects the buyers of low-end smartphones in poorer countries, which are those that can least afford it and are likely less tech-savvy. If at all possible, I urge smartphone buyers to restrict their purchases to well-known vendors. Also, users should always immediately install reliable antivirus and anti-malware software that can identify and protect against malicious apps such as the Triada-related malware family. Also, always keep a close eye on bank accounts, credit card transactions, and mobile carrier accounts, to stay alert to any possible fraudulent transactions. Phone makers such as Transsion, should practice extreme care when selecting third-party SDKs and modules for use in their products, otherwise, we'll continue to see smartphone manufacturers having malware placed on their products.  Read Less
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