Backdoor in U.S. Phones Sending Data to China

Analysts and security contractors discovered that some Android phones contained a pre-installed software designed to monitor the user’s whereabouts, text messages, and who they contact, sending data to a Chinese phone manufacturer.

In their article, Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say[1], Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt state:

“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.”

The surveillance is not disclosed to users so many victims are not even aware of the issue. While bugs are frequently found in consumer electronics, this case is unique. The software was designed to assist a Chinese phone manufacturer to monitor their consumer behavior but according to Shanghai Adups Technology, the software was never intended for use on American phones. It is unclear how the affected phones made their way to an American manufacturer[2] and were sold to U.S. consumers.

This is concerning for individual consumers and especially corporations who purchase devices in bulk. Throughout the technology supply chain, many companies can encounter your shipment and compromise the security and privacy of devices. If anything, this news should rest as a word of caution to always work with a trusted distributor who can monitor chain of custody throughout the process.

November 15th, 2016 By: Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt [1]
November 16th, 2016 By: Allen St. John [2]