While the corporate, anti-Trump, sore-loser media obsesses about supposed and undefined Russian hacking of the U.S. election, it recently emerged that a Chinese manufacturer installed backdoor spyware on Android phones that scooped up user text messages and sent them to China every three days.
In an era of widespread personal privacy violations, it is still unclear as to whether the secret spyware in question was merely a marketing ploy or full-on government surveillance.
Kryptowire, a Virginia-based security contractor, discovered the intrusive software written by Shanghai Adups Technology Company, whose code runs on about 700 million devices around the world, most of which are of the prepaid or disposable variety.
A Kryptowire exec observed that the average consumer would have difficulty assessing whether his or her Android phone was affected by the spyware.
Google admitted that it had no knowledge of the third-party application until Kryptowire clued them in. “A Google official said the company had told Adups to remove the surveillance ability from phones that run services like the Google Play store. That would not include devices in China, where hundreds of millions of people use Android phones but where Google does not operate because of censorship concerns,” the New York Times reported.
The preinstalled software apparently also tracked personal data such as user locations and call logs with telephone numbers.
Although the international market apparently was most affected, a Miami-based manufacturer, BLU Products, discovered the spyware on 120,000 of its smartphones. It has since updated its software to slam shut the backdoor. BLU received assurances from Adupts that it destroyed all the data that it collected before the spyware was disabled.
“It is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence,” American authorities have concluded, added the Times.
To date, there has been no official listing of the makes and models of smartphones that are, or could be, affected by the Adups spyware.
“Lily Lim, a lawyer representing Adups, said the software was intended to help an unidentified Chinese client identify junk text messages and calls. She did not know how many phones were affected,” the Daily Mail reported. The website also notes that the software was never meant for use outside of China.
Last year, Natural News reported that the National Security Agency allegedly planned to hijack Google Play and install spyware on Android phones in part to send misinformation and propaganda to targeted phones overseas.