Again problems with low-cost Android smartphones and tablets, once again experts discovered certain mobile devices shipped with malicious firmware.
According to malware researchers from antivirus firm Dr.Web, the firmware of a large number of popular Android devices operating on the MediaTek platform was compromised with at least two types of downloader Trojans.
These low-cost Android smartphones and tablets are mostly marketed in Russia.
“Doctor Web’s security researchers found new Trojans incorporated into firmwares of several dozens of Android mobile devices. Found malware programs are stored in system catalogs and covertly download and install programs.” states the blog post published by Dr.Web.
“One of these Trojans, dubbed Android.DownLoader.473.origin, was found in firmwares of a large number of popular Android devices operating on the MTK platform.”
Both malware found in low-cost Android mobile devices, detected as Android.DownLoader.473.origin and Android.Sprovider.7 are able to collect users’ data, displays advertisements on top of running applications and downloads unwanted apps.
Researchers found the malicious code on the following 26 models of low-cost Android mobile devices:
Lenovo A319, Lenovo A6000, MegaFon Login 4 LTE, Bravis NB85, Bravis NB105, Irbis TZ85, Irbis TX97, Irbis TZ43, Irbis tz56, Pixus Touch 7.85 3G, SUPRA M72KG, SUPRA M729G, SUPRA V2N10, Itell K3300, Digma Plane 9.7 3G, General Satellite GS700, Nomi C07000, Optima 10.1 3G TT1040MG, Marshal ME-711, 7 MID, Explay Imperium 8, Perfeo 9032_3G, Prestigio MultiPad Wize 3021 3G, Prestigio MultiPad PMT5001 3G, Ritmix RMD-1121, Oysters T72HM 3G, Irbis tz70, and Jeka JK103.
Android.DownLoader.473.origin is a downloader Trojan which is executed every time a mobile device is turned on, it can be used by crooks to download both benign apps and also malware and unwanted applications.
“It is known that cybercriminals generate their income by increasing application download statistics and by distributing advertising software,” the researchers pointed out. “Therefore, [both Trojans] were incorporated into Android firmware because dishonest outsourcers who took part in creation of Android system images decided to make money on users.” continues the report.
The Android.Sprovider.7 Trojan was spotted in the firmware of Lenovo A319 and Lenovo A6000 smartphones. Below the list of abilities observed by the researchers for this specific malware.:
Unfortunately, the number of similar cases is increasing, last month, security researchers from Kryptowire discovered a backdoor in the firmware installed on low-cost Android phones. The backdoor affects mobile phones from BLU Products that are available for sale on both Amazon and Best Buy.
A few days later, researchers from Anubis Networks discovered that a third-party firmware included in more than 2.8 million low-cost Android devices could be exploited to compromise the smartphones Over-the-Air (OTA) updates and gain root privileges.
The firmware affected by the backdoor is developed by the Chinese company Ragentek Group. The problem resides in the lack of encryption for the OTA mechanisms that expose users to MITM attacks. The analysis revealed that the Ragentek firmware running on the smartphone implements an insecure Over-the-Air update mechanism that establishes an unprotected connection to remote servers via an unencrypted communications channel.