Malware which signed users up to subscription services without their permission has been found on thousands of mobiles sold in Africa.
Anti-fraud firm Upstream found the malicious code on 53,000 Tecno handsets, sold in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.
Manufacturer Transsion told Buzzfeed it was installed in the supply chain without its knowledge.
Upstream said it was taking advantage of the “most vulnerable”.
“The fact that the malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently up against,” said Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Upstream’s Secure-D platform.
The Triada malware found by the firm on the Android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, doing so invisibly and without the user’s knowledge.
If the request is successful, it consumes pre-paid airtime, the only way to pay for digital services in many developing countries.
In total, Upstream found what it described as “suspicious activity” on more than 200,000 Tecno smartphones.
According to research firm IDC, Transsion Holdings is one of China’s leading phone manufacturers and in Africa it is the top-selling mobile manufacturer.
In response Tecno Mobile said that the issue was “an old and solved mobile security issue globally” to which it issued a fix in March 2018.
“For current W2 consumers that are potentially facing Triada issues now, they are highly recommended to download the over-the-air fix through their phone for installation or contact Tecno’s after-sales service support for assistance in any questions,” the firm told the BBC in a statement.
It added that it is attached “great importance to consumers’ data security and product safety”.
“Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our own security scan platform,” it added.
At the beginning of the year, security firm Malwarebytes warned that similar pre-installed apps were found on another Chinese Android phone – the UMX U686CL. This handset was offered to low-income families in the US via a government scheme.
And in 2016, researcher Ryan Johnson found that more than 700 million Android smartphones had malware installed.
Google, which developed the Android operating system, is aware of the issue.
In a blog written last year it blamed third-party vendors, used by manufacturers to install features such as face unlock, for pre-installing Triada malware.
It said it had worked with manufacturers to remove the threat from devices.
GOOGLE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES ANDROID 11 FOR ANDROID TV
A few weeks ago, Google officially released its latest system, Android 11 for smartphones. Today, the company announced that Android 11 will now be available for Android TVs. However, the Android 11 for TV is not a direct copy of Android 11 for smartphones. There are some features that are exclusive to the large screen. According to Google, it will partner with multiple OEMs and Android 11 on TV will be available in a few months. However, those who already have the ADT-3 Developer Kit can get the update today.
This system for Android TVs will retain most of the basic features of the Android 11 for smartphones. This system will come with better memory management and one-time permissions for secure workability. Google also did more work on privacy features to reduce the system’s vulnerability.
In addition, the Android 11 for Android TVs will come with an “Auto Low Latency Mode and low latency media decoding”. This system will also bring a new Tuner Framework with updated Media CAS support. Furthermore, this system will support gamepads, a feature that will be important for Stadia on the TV. Developers of Android TV apps can seamlessly test their apps with Google’s “test harness mode for Android TV”.
According to Google, the Android 11 system allows better control over TV functions. The company said the “…new framework functionality for managing System LEDs and physical microphone mute buttons also facilitate integrations for far-field microphone enabled devices”.
Google Chrome prepares new tab groups feature that creates groups automatically
Months after announcing it, Google finally rolled out tab groups widely in the past couple of weeks. Now, an improvement could be coming to Chrome’s tab group feature — the ability to recreate them automatically.
In the latest Chrome Canary release, a new flag is present that describes a feature Google is working on. That flag, titled “tab groups auto create,” is one that has had us scratching our heads since it popped onto our radar earlier this week.
Google’s description, too, unfortunately doesn’t help matters. the company simply explains that the feature “automatically creates groups for users, if tab groups are enabled” in Chrome. What does that mean? We’re not entirely sure, but there are a few possibilities!
For one, Google might be able to remember tab groups from a previous session and drop them into a group when opened. Alternatively, Google could intelligently create groups based on similar types of tabs. At this point, it’s all up in the air. We can say pretty confidently, however, that this feature is not live in the latest Canary release.
Facebook Is Apparently Adding Instagram Stories to Its Key Application
Facebook has built it no key that it would like to entwine Instagram into its principal blue app as a great deal as possible (to some Instagram users’ chagrin.) Its most recent experiment evidently requires placing Instagram stories right on Facebook.
In accordance to a report in the Verge, some Facebook customers have lately started looking at Instagram stories in their Fb story feeds. A Fb representative apparently verified the news to Matt Navarra, a social media marketplace commentator and advisor, and stated that it was a restricted examination. The representative added that Facebook would be listening to feedback from its group on the prospective new characteristic.
In a screenshot posted by a Twitter consumer and Navarra on Friday, Fb seemingly points out that not just anyone can view an Instagram story on Facebook. In get to do so, consumers have to website link their Instagram accounts to Facebook and have this viewing placing turned on. Fb states that men and women who don’t abide by a user on Instagram will not be ready to see that user’s tales.
Fb also purportedly pressured that even however tales will be in two sites, users’ overall practical experience would not improve. That is mainly because people will nevertheless essentially be sharing their tales with the similar persons on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, Instagram stories on Facebook (which will have a pink and orange circle) will surface with a user’s Instagram take care of. And even though the tales will be seen on Fb, end users will see all tale sights and replies on Instagram.
In new many years, Facebook has labored to convey all of its popular apps, which involve WhatsApp and Instagram, nearer with each other. Very last thirty day period, Facebook released a new exam working experience on Instagram messaging for some users. The new experience up-to-date the look of Instagram immediate messages and promoted the likelihood of chatting with individuals who use Fb.
Who knows, possibly in the foreseeable future we won’t have an application named Instagram or Fb. We’ll just have a person giant purple and blue app, owned by Facebook, that does almost everything.
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