Keeping malware off your smartphone is critical, but now there are reports that some cheap Android phones are coming equipped with malware from the factory. The problem is disguised as a ringtone app, and worst of all, it cannot be uninstalled.
The malware in question is a Trojan from China known as DeathRing. The program has access to SMS and WAP content from a user’s smartphone, which makes it capable of phishing personal information from the owner through fake text messages. The malware is installed on the phone somewhere in the assembly process, and then remains on the phone permanently.
Here is a list of affected smartphones, courtesy of the security firm LookOut:
- Counterfeit Samsung GS4/Note II
- TECNO devices
- Gionee GN708W
- Gionee GN800
- Gionee Gpad G1
- Haier H7
- Hi-Tech Amaze Tab
- Karbonn TA-FONE A34/A37
- Jiayu G4S
- Polytron Rocket S2350
- i9502+ Samsung Clone
Most of these phones are clones of Samsung devices, and do not account for many sales in the United States. If you or someone you know owns one of these devices, it would be wise to invest in a new smartphone.