12.5 C
New York
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Home News Chinese malware found on U.S. government-subsidized phones

Chinese malware found on U.S. government-subsidized phones

Cybersecurity firm, Malwarebytes says it has found pre-installed Chinese malware on some U.S. government-subsidized phones. The phones are offered to low-income families at significant discounts under the FCC’s Lifeline Assistance program that was first introduced three decades ago.

In particular, Malwarebytes has investigated an Android-based model dubbed the UMX U686CL that is being sold by Assurance Wireless, a subsidiary of Virgin Mobile. The phone is manufactured by a China-based company and is priced at $35 which also includes free calls, texts, and data.

The report claims the UMX U686CL came infested with two malware apps. One called Wireless Update was armed with unrestricted privileges and capable of installing apps in the background without any user consent. Being a system-level app, Malwarebytes says it is not possible to uninstall Wireless Update as it could adversely affect the rest of the phone’s functions.

Further, Malwarebytes discovered that Wireless Update was programmed under the same name as Adups, a Chinese company that has been caught in the past “collecting user data, creating backdoors for mobile devices and developing auto-installers.”

Adups was responsible for the massive 2016 Android breach which impacted over 700 million phones and prompted probes from Google as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

The second malware was deeply integrated within the Settings app which means removing it could render the entire phone inoperative. It housed a trojan called Hidden Ads that is configured to display ads even when you’re in other apps. Hidden Ads’ source code was riddled with encrypted Chinese characters, because of which Malwarebytes says it couldn’t pinpoint its exact purpose.

“As I have highlighted in this blog and blogs past, pre-installed malware continues to be a scourge for users of mobile devices. But now that there’s a mobile device available for purchase through a U.S. government-funded program, this henceforth raises (or lowers, however you view it) the bar on bad behavior by app development companies,” said Nathan Collier, Senior Malware Intelligence Analyst at Malwarebytes in a blog post.

Sprint has denied the allegations and in an email response, told Digital Trends that the company is “aware of this issue and in touch with the device manufacturer Unimax to understand the root cause, however, after our initial testing we do not believe the applications described in the media are malware.”

FCC has declined to comment directly on the report and in a statement sent to Digital Trends over email added that “the FCC is not the “provider” of the service. Through the Lifeline program, the FCC funds voice and broadband service to qualifying Lifeline consumers but we do not provide the service ourselves. Lifeline funds do not support the cost of the handset or any other end-user device.”


Jailed hacker insists he doesn’t want to see a computer ever again

A British hacker who was part of The Dark Overlord group has been handed a prison term for his offenses.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorders now available

Get your wallets ready because they'll sell out fast no matter where you are.Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

POCO X3 with Snapdragon 732G chipset launched in India for ₹16,999 ($231)

The POCO X3 made its global debut earlier this month.What you need to knowPOCO X3 is now official in India.The

VIP SALE! Final day to get extra savings on products and services

We’re in the final day of our VIP Sale which sees us discounting products, services, and other items at a much bigger rate than usual. Indeed, you can visit the AG Deals Store any day of the week and find great prices on all sorts of great things.You’ve got until midnight tonight (September 21) to take advantage of an extra 20% off physical items. Moreover, we’re dropping the prices of online courses by an additional 60%.VIP SALESave an extra 60% on these online training coursesSave an extra 40% on apps and softwareUse this promo code to save an extra 20% in our storeCheck our coverage from the last few days to see highlights of the most popular options from each category. Below, we’ll also outline some of the best sellers from the AG Deals Store.Dragon X5 Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Phone Gaming Controller – $32By simply pairing this gamepad to your phone, tablet, smart TV, consoles, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, you can now enjoy up to 10 hours of immersive, wireless game control. This gamepad features analog, turbo acceleration, and multimedia functions for total playing experience.Gotek Wireless Charging Music Station – $37.60Gotek Music Station is capable of both streaming music and charging your Qi-enabled smartphone wirelessly. Carefully designed with creative elements such as a big glossy LED display with 3 levels of lightness, the built-in FM radio and alarm will let you enjoy the versatile functions beside your bed, on your desk, or working place. You can easily charge the speaker via Type-C port, or use its own battery which could support 8 hours of working time when you play music.Zone 47″ Wide PC Gamer Computer Desk – $200The Zone 47″ Wide PC Gamer Computer Desk by Offex features a large 47″W x 23.75″ deep gaming surface with a simulated carbon fiber finish and a beveled front cut out that keeps you closer to the monitor without sacrificing room for your accessories. It also provides gamer specific features: a cup holder and headphone hook that saves desktop space, a power console with 3 grounded outlet receptors and 2 USB charging ports, and a cord management hole with cover for organizing your electrical cords.The Ultimate Data & Project Management Certification Bundle – $16Make project delivery and data analysis more efficient with 49 hours of guided content on Java, SAS, SQL, Power BI, Jira, Agile, and more. Spread over ten courses, you’ll have more than 650 lessons at your fingertips.The Complete Python eBook & Video Course Bundle – $12Start your programming career and sharpen your skills with 17 hours of video content and five eBooks on Python, AI, Deep Learning, and more.The Complete Microsoft Azure eBook & Video Course Bundle – $12Lead your business towards success with 15+ hours of video content and six eBooks on Azure Cloud Solutions, Integration, Networks, and more.