ZTE phones have pre-installed malware says the report

As Homeland Security on the orders from US President Donald Trump is investigating the issue of whether ZTE phones/ devices are being used by the manufacturer for cyber espionage activities, a new report emerged early this week claims that the phones of the said manufacture come with pre-installed malware which transmits data stored on the mobile phones to remote servers.

Avast Threat Labs claims that hundreds of Android devices including phones from controversial Chinese firm ZTE are shipping with malware already installed on them.

The firm says that it researchers have discovered pre-installed adware called ‘Cosiloon’ (earlier called as Dr. Web) on several Android device variants manufactured by some top not companies like Archos, Digma, Condor, Alps, Blaupunkt, Mediacom, Auchan, elink, Captiva, beeline, meo, xwave, Oysters, Telenor, Blow, Prestigio, myPhone (a Philippines mobile manufacturer)  and such.

Cosiloon is found to create an overlay to display an ad over a webpage which is hard to remove.

Avast says that its anti-malware detection software used by over 18,000 mobile users from Russia, Italy, Germany, UK, and the US found the presence of the said malware on devices offered by many noted manufactures by default.

Furthermore, Avast Threat Labs research found that many of the affected handsets were also tainted with two or more malware packages, all capable of screening apps, installing extra APKs from the web and surrendering private data such as IMEI, Mac address and phone numbers to remote servers.

Early this year, noted smartphone manufacturer Samsung faced similar allegations from the media. It later cleared to the world that the apps in question were meant to transmit mobile device data to servers for R& D purposes and were never found sharing data related to users. 

Note- Chinese manufacturer ZTE is yet to react to the allegations put forward by Avast Threat Labs.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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