Cheap Android phone comes shipped with spyware

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jun 19, 2014

Trojan masquerades as Google Play app; cannot be removed.

Researchers at German security firm G Data have discovered Android smartphones that come shipped with spyware.

The phone is the N9500 from Chinese manufacturer Star, which appears to be very similar to the popular Samsung S5, but with a much lower price tag. Following reports from customers, G Data researchers decided to purchase the phone and confirmed that it contained the trojan known as Android.Trojan.Uupay.D.

This trojan masquerades as the legitimate Google Play app, making its activities invisible to the phone's user. To make matters worse, as it is part of the firmware, the app cannot be removed from the device. Intercepted data is sent to a server located in China, while the malware also prevents the installation of security updates.

Of course, there is only one sensible piece of advice regarding this phone, which is to avoid it completely. Thankfully, most web stores appear to have stopped selling it.

Another security firm, FireEye, also reported a piece of Android malware that masquerades as the Google Play app. An analysis on the company's blog explains how this malware avoids detection by storing the payload as an encrypted attachment to a seemingly benign application.

This malware also steals data and sends it off to a Chinese server. However, it is unclear whether the two threats are related. Update: G Data's Eddy Willems says he believes they are not related.

Posted on 19 June 2014 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 preview: hacking cars

In recent years, car hacking has evolved from a mostly theoretical research field involving giggling researchers and scared journalists, to one that actually concerns car owners and manufacturers. On today's blog we preview two VB2018 papers, by…

Where are all the ‘A’s in APT?

In a guest blog post by VB2018 gold partner Kaspersky Lab, Costin Raiu, Director of the company's Global Research and Analysis Team, looks critically at the 'A' in APT.

VB2018 preview: commercial spyware and its use by governments

Today, we preview three VB2018 presentations that look at threats against civil society in general and the use of commercial spyware by governments for this purpose in particular.

VB2018 preview: Wipers in the wild

Today we preview the VB2018 paper by Saher Naumaan (BAE Systems Applied Intelligence) on the use of wipers in APT attacks.

VB2018 preview: IoT botnets

The VB2018 programme is packed with a wide range of security topics featuring speakers from all around the world. Today we preview two of them: one by Qihoo 360 researchers on tracking variants of Mirai and one by researchers from Bitdefender on the…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.