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China selling phones with data stealing malware in Africa

China is selling low cost smartphones with built-in data stealing malware to people in Africa.

Anti-fraud firm, Upstream, has established that malicious code was found on more than 50000 smartphones by Tecno sold in South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt and Cameroon had malware that signed users of to subscription services without their knowledge.

Soon after this was flagged, the manufacturer of the phones said that the malware was installed in the supply chain without the their knowledge.

According to a statement by Upstream, the phones infected with the malware ended up being bought by people on a lower income.

Upstream added that chinese phone makers are taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in the continent. The fact that the malware was pre-installed in handsets that target people in low-income groups in the market explains it all.

The Triada malware is found in Android smartphones installs a malicious code, xHelper, is responsible for sending fraudulent requests without the user’s knowledge.

Successful subscription services then consume pre-paid airtime in the users SIM.

Upstream found “suspicious activity” in more than 2 lakh smartphones by Tecno, a the top-selling phone manufacturer in Africa, according to IDC.

Tecno argues that the issue was in some old model and it occurred globally, not only in Africa.

About that the current users of Tecno W2 who are facing issues resulting from this malware, Tenco advised users to download the over-the-air fix through the phones, or contact the after-sales service.


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