Some Android phones have been sending all your text messages, movements, call logs to China

On Tuesday, the U.S. cybersecurity firm Kryptowire said it had uncovered an unusual feature in some Android smartphones that informed a server in China where users went and whom they talked to, and every 72 hours sent over the contents of all text messages on the phone. Kryptowire said it had already informed the U.S. government about the code, as well as Shanghai Adups Technology, the company that wrote and installed the software. BLU Products, a leading U.S. manufacturer of unlocked smartphones, said that 120,000 of its handsets were affected, and that a firmware update had eliminated the code.U.S. officials say they aren’t sure if the code was was intended to spy on users for the Chinese government or just mine data for marketing purpose, but it wasn’t disclosed anywhere in the fine print. “Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t have known about it,” Kryptowire vice president Tom Karygiannis tells The New York Times. The Android phones most affected are disposable or prepaid handsets, though it’s not clear exactly how many phones have the code. Adups says its software, allowing phone companies to remotely update the firmware on products, comes preinstalled on more than 700 million smart devices, from phones to cars, and that this particular code was not supposed to go on U.S. phones, just Chinese ones.”This is a private company that made a mistake,” said Lily Lim, who represents Adups in the U.S. A Chinese manufacturer had requested the code to help it harvest call logs and text messages for customer support, Adups said in a document explaining the issue to BLU executives. Lim said the Chinese company, which she wouldn’t identify, wanted to help its customers filter out junk texts and marketing calls. You can find out if our phone is affected and how to fix it at BLU Products. Peter Weber

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Categories: General

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