Research has found that phones for low-income users have been hacked before they’re turned on, according to CNET. Devices paid for by the federally funded Lifeline program, established to ensure that people on low incomes can stay connected to vital services via phone and email, have been subject to an endless barrage of pop-up ads. Not only do these make the phones virtually unusable, but they also siphon off the data paid for with federal subsidies. The settings and update apps on each phone contained code that allowed them to load malicious apps known as adware.
It is never acceptable for security to fall by the wayside in the pursuit of making affordable products. These preinstalled malware threats cannot be deleted without specialist software, meaning there is little that the end users can do, making this scheme fruitless and potentially iniquitous. Adware can not only be frustrating but it can also dramatically slow down a device and even steal data so it is vital that manufacturers follow Google\’s advice in screening software fully to eradicate any risks that can be passed onto end users before they are shipped out.