US-funded Android Phone Has Pre-Installed Malware That Users Couldn’t Remove

You may very well know the reason Huawei cannot sell its Android phones in the US. The government believes the Chinese government wants to spy not just its people but also other countries, and what better medium than smartphones? These accusations were addressed to Huawei, but isn’t it ironic to find malware in US-funded smartphones?

Those malware put users’ private data at risk and opened their smartphones to anyone willing to hijack those phones. Apparently, nobody knew about these issues, reported Malwarebytes, and it is not just one phone that came with pre-installed and unremovable malware.

Low-range Us-funded Smartphone Comes With Pre-installed Malware

The phone is sold in the US by Virgin Mobile via the Lifeline Assistance program, and it’s called UMX U686CL. It costs $53 and while it has some basic specs and features, it does bring two gifts nobody actually wants to receive: malware!

“We informed Assurance Wireless of our findings and asked them point-blank why a US-funded mobile carrier is selling a mobile device infected with pre-installed malware? After giving them adequate time to respond, we unfortunately never heard back,” wrote Malwarebytes in their report.
One of the malware is a Wireless Updater, which updates the phone’s firmware but can also let apps be installed without the user’s permission. This feature begs hijackers to install even more malware. Wireless Updater can be forcibly removed from the phone.

The second malware is the phone’s Settings app, which installs HiddenAds malware (Android/Trojan.HiddenAds) on the phone. Unlike Wireless Updater, the Settings app cannot be removed since it would make the phone useless.

You can check out the full report from Malwarebytes liked above, where they break down the code from the Settings app and Wireless Updater, explaining why they’re malicious apps.

Interestingly enough, the malware originates from China, and so does the UMX. This means that neither Virgin Mobile nor the US government might have known about these facts, which is a bit odd considering the paranoia revolving around smartphones from Chinese makers.

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