Kryptowire, which specializes in mobile security threats, released a report that there is an exposed firmware in some Android handsets that is collecting PII (personally identifying information) and then sending them to third-party servers without the users’ knowledge.

Unlike the majority of spyware that is downloaded on the internet, this comes preinstalled in a number of Android smartphone. Shanghai Adups Tech Company created the PII-stealing code after it interacted with an unknown Chinese client.

Nonetheless, the company has apologized, saying that the data collected from the client was deleted. According to Kryptowire, it identified files being uploaded by Adups company servers (every 72 hours for call log info and text messages info, and every 24 hours for the other personal identifying information data) through system applications, com.adups.fota, and com.adups.fota.sysoper. These apps cannot be disabled in any way by the user.

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Android phones affected by Adups’ Spyware

The only models in the US which have been affected were sold on by the handset manufacturer BLU. Moreover, there were rumors that also the ZTE and Huawei smartphones were also infected.

The BLU models affected include:

  • Energy Diamond
  • Neo XL
  • R1 HD
  • Energy X Plus 2
  • Advance 4.0 L2
  • Studio Touch

For now, Amazon has made the affected devices unavailable for purchase.

How to check your device for Adups’ Spyware

In case you’ve a BLU handset and you want to check if your handset is vulnerable, head to Settings > Apps. Then select the 3-dot menu at the right corner. Hit ‘Show system’ and then scroll down and click ‘Wireless Update.’ If your handset has version numbers from 5.0.x to 5.3.x, it is affected. However, devices with version number are not affected.

Source: Android Authority

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