According to some new reports, there has been rising cases of malware attacks in mobile phones. These malwares allegedly come pre-installed in smartphones of Chinese brands. With the help of these malwares, the companies have been accused of stealing user’s personal data and sometimes even robbing them of money. This is a very problematic development because Chinese smartphones have deeply penetrated the Indian consumer market. Chinese smartphone brands in India like Xiaomi and Realme are extremely popular due to the high end specifications that they offer in a very low range. Coupled with the absence of any popular Indian brand in the market, Chinese smartphones truly dominate the Indian smartphone market. The news of pre-installed malwares then raise questions and concerns for the security of India.
Pre-installed Malware In Chinese Mobiles
The whole commotion began when the Chinese brand, Tenco came under fire due to two independent reports by Buzzfeed and Secure-D. A user of Techno W2 found that a lot of his data was being spent and he was getting subscribed to services without his consent or knowledge. Many such users have since come forward with such allegations of their own. This was being done through two pre-installed malwares, xHelper and Triada. With the help of these malwares, apps automatically get installed on the phone and services are automatically being subscribed. Tecno is owned by Transsion Holdings Company, a Chinese firm. It also owns popular brands like Itel and Infinix which make entry level budget smartphones. Tecno and Infinix are both very popular Chinese smartphone brands in India with Africa as their second biggest market.
Malware In Other Brands
Tenco has since accepted the presence of malware in its smartphones. According to Buzzfeed’s reports, the company says its not getting any profit from these malwares and hence have no reason to pre-install them. Tenco has blamed the supply chain vendors for this menace. It has however declined to reveal how many of it’s smartphones come pre-installed with xHelper and Triada. Mobile security service, Secure D has revealed that they have blocked around 844,000 fraud transactions just between March and December last year.
The security firm has also accused an another company Alactel of TCL Technology of having malwares pre-installed in their smartphones. This company however only operates in Brazil and does not sell smart phones in India. With more serious investigations, many more such companies can be exposed.
What It Means For India
Border tensions between India and China are at an all time high. There has been a growing movement to ban all Chinese products in India. Recent developments like these will only strengthen that movement. The Government of India has recently banned 59 Chinese apps in India including some popular ones like Tiktok, UC Browser, We Chat, Helo etc. The ban was largely welcomed by the public. With the deep penetration of Chinese smartphones in the Indian market, there are growing concerns about the internal security of the country.