Cheap Chinese Android phone firmware laced with invasive spyware

The Chinese smartphone, N9500, is a cheap Android device that is purchasable from e-commerce sites like Amazon. The price makes these devices attractive to customers looking for an upgrade to their aging devices.

According to researchers at German security firm G Data, the firmware on the device is laced with the Uupay.D trojan horse that disguises itself as the Google Play Store.

The spyware allows a hacker to install malicious applications onto the targets device stealthily. In addition it can steal personal information, copy users’ data, record calls automatically with unlimited time and send costly SMS to premium services, enabling the device to send all the users information to an unknown server in China.

The spyware also allows the hacker to turn on the microphone of the device at any time which can be used as a bugging device. Unfortunately for owners of the device, the spyware can’t be removed because it has been flashed to the device with the ROM.

It may be possible to find a custom ROM for the device but as they’re not widespread finding one will be difficult. By flashing a custom ROM it removes the bad software.