Report: Chinese phone comes preloaded with spyware

BERLIN — A cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphones carried by major online retailers comes preinstalled with espionage software, a German security firm said Tuesday.

G Data Software said it found malicious code hidden deep in the propriety software of the Star N9500 when it ordered the handset from a website late last month. The find is the latest in a series of incidents where smartphones have appeared preloaded with malicious software.

G Data spokesman Thorsten Urbanski said his firm bought the phone after getting complaints about it from several customers. He said his team spent more than a week trying to trace the handset’s maker without success.

“The manufacturer is not mentioned,” he said. “Not in the phone, not in the documentation, nothing else.”

The Associated Press found the phone for sale on several major retail websites, offered by an array of companies listed in Shenzhen, in southern China. It could not immediately find a reference to the phone’s manufacturer.

G Data said the spyware it found on the N9500 could allow a hacker to steal personal data, place rogue calls, or turn on the phone’s camera and microphone. G Data said the stolen information was sent to a server in China.

Bjoern Rupp, chief executive of the Berlin-based mobile security consultancy firm GSMK, said such cases are more common than people think. Last fall, German cellphone service provider E-Plus found malicious software on some handsets delivered to customers of its Base brand.

“We have to assume that such incidents will increasingly occur, for different commercial and other reasons,” said Rupp.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tesla rolls out the design for its 500-mile electric big rig

The truck will have an Autopilot system, which can maintain a set speed and slow down in traffic.

How Airbus’s A380 deal with Emirates evaporated in Dubai

It came down to concern by Emirates that Airbus might shut down the jumbo program.

Equipment rental and sales business H&E opens Mukilteo shop

Company hopes to capitalize on construction occuring in northwest Washington.

New Chick-fil-A draws dozens of campers in Bothell

A second restaurant of the popular chain is opening on Thursday.

Tulalip Resort Casino to feature locally grown hazelnuts

The resort wanted to put a focus on meals created with the nut.

Alderwood Water general manager named president of state association

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District General Manager Jeff Clarke has been installed… Continue reading

Boeing earns top marks for LGBTQ workplace policies

Boeing was one of 609 businesses nationwide to earn a 100-point score… Continue reading

Derided by critics, trickle-down economics gets another try

The concept — also known as supply-side economics — has frequently drawn ridicule.

Richard Branson’s 747 to launch satellites for the Pentagon

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket would be “air launched” from a 747-400 it calls “Cosmic Girl.”

Most Read