Included for free with some Android phones: “a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.”
Preinstalled software discovered by researchers on some Android phones sold in the U.S. keeps track of where you go, who you talk to, and what you write in text messages.
“American authorities say it is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence,” reports
the New York Times:
International customers and users of disposable or prepaid phones are the people most affected by the software. But the scope is unclear. The Chinese company that wrote the software, Shanghai Adups Technology Company, says its code runs on more than 700 million phones, cars and other smart devices. One American phone manufacturer, BLU Products, said that 120,000 of its phones had been affected and that it had updated the software to eliminate the feature.
Kryptowire, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability, said the Adups software transmitted the full contents of text messages, contact lists, call logs, location information and other data to a Chinese server. The code comes preinstalled on phones and the surveillance is not disclosed to users, said Tom Karygiannis, a vice president of Kryptowire, which is based in Fairfax, Va. “Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t have known about it,” he said.
Security experts frequently discover vulnerabilities in consumer electronics, but this case is exceptional. It was not a bug. Rather, Adups intentionally designed the software to help a Chinese phone manufacturer monitor user behavior, according to a document that Adups provided to explain the problem to BLU executives. That version of the software was not intended for American phones, the company said.
Android tablets being crummy and Microsoft ones being dismembered laptops, it’s nice that Apple’s unexpectedly announced new models of its aging iPad Mini and iPad Air. The 10.5″ iPad Air weighs one pound and starts at $499, while the 7.9″ iPad Mini has pencil support, an ultra-high DPI and starts at $399. Both use Apple’s […]
Enjoy one minute and eleven seconds of fun from the Lockpicking Lawyer, who makes short work of a Smartkey Kwikset Padlock [Amazon], which you absolutely shouldn’t buy as a gift for someone whose property you have plans for.
I finally pulled the trigger on the new iPad Pro because of today’s deals at Amazon; affiliate links follow below. Every year I throw all my computers in a dumpster and make another desperate, clawing, doomed effort to use an iPad Pro as my “only machine” and it is once again Time. Here’s what’s up: […]
It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use […]
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]
Big systems need tight security – and the experts who can implement it. Cisco Networking Systems are the go-to providers for network infrastructure, but maintaining it takes a lot of up-to-date knowledge. If you want that knowledge right from the source, there’s an online course that can get you certified painlessly: The Foundational Cisco CCNA […]