Cheap Samsung Galaxy S4 knock-off ships with spyware sending data back to China
Security researchers warn that customers should view cheap, imitation devices selling at low costs with scepticism
Security researchers in Germany have reported that a brand of cheap Chinese smartphones is being shipped to customers preloaded with malicious spyware.
Berlin-based G Data said that a smartphone known as the Star N9500 (a rough approximation of Samsung’s popular Galaxy S4) includes code that can retrieve a range of personal data and even remotely control the device’s camera and microphone before sending the information back to servers in China.
"The possibilities with this spy program are almost limitless. Online criminals get full access to the smartphone,” said G Data’s product manager Christian Geschkat on the company’s website.
The spying functions of the device are built into the smartphone’s Android-based firmware (a basic level of software that cannot usually be accessed by consumers) and utilise a Trojan known as Uupay.D. The malicious code also blocks security updates to the phone - preventing the malware from being removed by Google.
The phone is available to buy on many Western website including Amazon and Ebay. It costs roughly £100 and offers attractive technical specs including a 5-inch screen and quad-core processor. Comparable devices from better known manufacturers can cost nearly three times as much.
Update: Ebay has now removed the Star N9500 from its site, saying “Due to reports that some Star 9500 smartphones are loaded with spyware, eBay is not allowing the sale of these devices as a precautionary measure.”
“Particularly good online deals sound enticing but should make buyers suspicious,” said Geschkat. “No one gives anything away.”
With Chinese factories able to cheaply and quickly churn out knock-offs of well known smartphone brands, security experts says incidents like this could become increasingly more common.
"The question is this," writes secuirty veteran Graham Cluley on his blog. "Did the manufacturers of this Android smartphone deliberately plant malware on its devices, or did something go badly wrong on their production line which allowed the malware to sneak its way onboard?"
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Fifty years of David Bowie's hairstyles in one animated gif
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cure for cancer to her scientist father
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Suppor...
£55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager - Retail / FMCG / WM...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - Central London, £60,000...