Some government-funded Android phones for low income people contain uninstallable malware that’s partly based in China…
Android phones, subsidized by the United States government for low-income users, are infected with unremovable malware, security researchers have found.
There are two kinds of malicious code, one being Chinese-based, and when removed, renders the devices unusable.
US Government-Funded Android Phones for Low-Income Users come Preinstalled with Unremovable Chinese Malware
The UMX U686CL, provided by Virgin Mobile’s Assurance Wireless program, is provided through a Federal Communications Commissions plan, which makes free or government-subsidized phones service available to millions of low-income families.
But, it turns out it’s plagued with permanent malware applications. One is a heavily obfuscated malware. It is able to install adware and other unwanted apps undetected, without the knowledge or permission of the user.
Another is called Wireless Update, which can likewise install numerous unwanted applications, again without prompting the user. It’s a variant of Adups, an app from a China-based company by the same name.
Malwarebytes researcher Nathan Collier explains:
“From the moment you log into the mobile device, Wireless Update starts auto-installing apps. To repeat: there is no user consent collected to do so, no buttons to click to accept the installs, it just installs apps on its own.”