Thousands Of Phones Sold With Built-in Malware In Africa

Malware that signed users up to subscription services without their permission has been found on thousands of mobiles sold in Africa, according to BBC News. Anti-fraud firm Upstream found the malicious code on 53,000 Tecno handsets, sold in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa. Transsion, the manufacturer of these devices, claimed the malware was installed in the supply chain without its knowledge. The Triada malware found by Upstream on the Android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, doing so invisibly and without the user’s knowledge. If the request is successful, it consumes pre-paid airtime, the only way to pay for digital services in many developing countries.

Experts Comments

August 26, 2020
Jake Moore
Cybersecurity Specialist
ESET
Dodgy preinstalled apps can cause all sorts of mayhem – with some even spying on what the user is doing. Is it extremely important to use a good antivirus app on your Android device to help reduce the damage from unwanted and threatening malware. As some of these devices may make their way over to the UK to be sold as secondhand devices, it is important to check the origin of a phone whenever possible. When in doubt, restore the phone from a backup of an existing device.
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