Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China
Security researchers have uncovered a secret backdoor in Android phones that sends almost all personally identifiable information to servers based in China.
The firmware is managed by Shanghai Adups Technology, and according to the company, is contained on over 700 million phones worldwide, including phones available in the United States.
Adups says that the firmware provides companies with data for customer support, but an analysis by Kryptowire revealed that the software sends the full bodies of text messages, contact lists, call history with full telephone numbers, and unique device identifiers including the International Mobile Subscriber Identity and the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity.
Or, in other words, everything that you would need to keep someone under surveillance.
Although Shanghai Adups is not affiliated with the Chinese government, the discovery of the firmware is being taken very seriously by US government officials: not least because the firmware does not disclose what it is doing and the firmware – spyware – comes pre-installed on new phones.
On its website, Adups says its firmware is used by 400 mobile operators, semiconductor vendors, and device manufacturers, covering everything from smartphones to wearables to cars and televisions.
The company has admitted that the specific software under examination was written following a request by a Chinese manufacturer, but has refused to name the company.