Security researchers from G DATA have discovered more than two dozen Android mobile phones from different manufacturers already infected by pre-installed malware.
The kits analyzed by the company are commercialized by many manufacturers including Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi.
Be aware this doesn’t mean that the popular manufacturers distributed mobile devices with pre-installed devices, instead it is likely that middlemen intentionally modified the firmware to steal user data and inject advertising to realize financial frauds.
The mobile devices run a version of firmware implementing espionage features.
Security experts also speculate that threat actors compromised the supply chain, speculating the involvement of an intelligence agency.
It is not a first time that smartphones come with pre-installed malware, earlier 2015, the security firm Bluebox discovered a preinstalled malware, many malicious apps, and a series of security holes on the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone.
In June 2014 security experts at G Data discovered that a popular Chinese Android Smartphone, Star N9500 was commercialized with a pre-installed spyware, meanwhile in April, the Chinese TV station, CCTV, reported some cases of smartphones compromised by pre-installed malware before selling them on to unwitting customers.
In December 2014, researchers from Palo Alto Networks discovered that the software installed on many of Coolpad high-end Android phones includes a CoolReaper backdoor.
The problem of pre-installed malware is serious security issues for end-users and despite the effort of manufacturers threat actors still succeed to compromise devices worldwide.
(Security Affairs – pre-installed malware, Android)