- Low-End Android Smartphones Sold with Preinstalled Malware; Malware Sneaks into Google Play Store
- Preinstalled Malware in Android Smartphones Depletes Mobile Data Allowance and Triggers Fraudulent Charges
New low-end Android smartphone devices being sold to consumers in developing markets, many of whom are coming online for the first time, contain pre-installed malware, according to mobile internet company Upstream.
This malware, designed to commit digital ad fraud, collects users’ personal information, depletes their mobile data allowance and triggers fraudulent charges to their pre-paid credit, without their knowledge or consent, says Upstream.
Smartphone penetration in developing markets is growing rapidly, forecast to reach 62 percent by 2020, and, as a result, broadband connections are also increasing, expected to rise to 88 percent in Brazil by 2020, according to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2017 report. That said, the cost of data in emerging markets remains expensive, relative to local income levels, compared to what holds in developed markets (indicatively, in Brazil, 1GB of data would take the average person 6 hours of work to pay for). Moreover, in emerging markets, where 80 percent of people are unbanked, and most are pre-paid mobile subscribers, carrier billing -a payment method allowing users to purchase digital services by charging payments to their airtime balance- is often the only way they can pay for digital services. The combination of these conditions creates an explosive context for the effects pre-installed smartphone malware has on consumers in emerging markets, says Upstream.
Malware from Google Play Store
Researchers at IBM X-Force uncovered in June that several developers are actively uploading Android malware downloaders to the Google Play Store. Anubis malware designed to steal login credentials for banking apps, e-wallets and payment cards.