Thursday, November 30, 2023

Beware of Pre-Installed Mobile Malware in Device System Level Before Shipping

A new landscape study states that an upcoming mobile devices may comes with per-installed mobile malware along with malicious code in it.

Per-installed malware means that the mobile device already installed with malicious code in system level that cannot be removed easily.

There are two types of pre-installed malware that is based on the apps location which is one of the important aspects of the apps.

1 ./system/app/ – The apps which is posted in this location something that you’re regularly using such as, camera, FM, video player and photo viewers etc

2. /system/priv-app/ – This is very important app location and most of the important apps such as settings and system UI, which include the functionality for the back/home buttons on Android devices reside in it.

The First location let allow users to uninstall some apps easily but the second location will not allow users to uninstall the apps without breaking the core essential.

In this case, latest preinstalled malware that reside in the /system/priv-app/ that is quite difficult to remove it.

Pre-Installed Mobile Malware

THL T9 Pro, a device that contains pre-insalled Riskware that perform various malicious activities.

Researchers analyzed the code of this malware and confirmed that
 the well-known preinstalled malware Adups.

This Malware infects the system UI and repeatedly installs variants of Android malware to eventually steal the sensitive information.

Another device is UTOK Q55 that infect with Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) monitoring apps that collect and report sensitive information from the device.

“This particular Monitor app is hardcoded in the highly-important Settings app. In effect, the app used to uninstall other apps would need to be uninstalled itself to remediate—pure irony.”

According to malwarebytes Currently, the best method to deal with these infections is to:

  1. Stay away from devices with these infections. Here are the manufacturers/models we have seen so far that have been impacted:
    • THL T9 Pro
    • UTOK Q55
    • BLU Studio G2 HD
  2. If you already bought one, return the device.
  3. If you already bought the device and can’t return it, contact the manufacturer.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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