German security vendor, G Data has a blog post on that details how they found out that a particular Chinese manufactured smartphone has spyware pre-installed in the firmware, with user data being sent off to an anonymous server in China. The spyware is disguised as the Google Play Store and cannot be disabled. Apps are also installed on the phone without the user’s permission.
An excerpt from the blog post reads:
For the first time ever, the experts at the German security vendor have discovered a smartphone that comes with extensive spyware straight from the factory. The malware is disguised as the Google Play Store and is part of the pre-installed Android apps. The spyware runs in the background and cannot be detected by users. Unbeknownst to the user, the smartphone sends personal data to a server located in China and is able to covertly install additional applications.
The Star N9500 is a knock-off of the popular Samsung Galaxy S4. Here at MOBILITY, We never recommend knock-offs. In our books, they are 100% counterfeit products. If you want a Samsung smartphone, please go buy the authentic item and avoid possible situations of this sort. The N9500 is available through many online stores, including Amazon. If you own one, please format it right away and stop using it. While the low price of such phones is usually an attraction, there are many budget smartphones from authentic brands that are available in the market. Buy those instead.
You should read the full blogpost from G Data: Android smartphone shipped with spyware
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