It has been discovered that Alcatel smartphones have come pre-installed with malware.
Hidden inside an innocent looking weather app is malicious code found to be sending data about its user to China.
The Android App in question named “Weather Forecast - World Weather Accurate Radar” and could also for a time be found on the Google Play store until suspicious activity was found to be taking place by Upstream’s security platform, Secure-D.
Once infected, devices were found to collect and transfer users’ personal information to servers online, including the user’s device ID, their email, and location. The app would then attempt to commit ad fraud by loading pages with apps and subscribing users to unknowingly to monthly premium services without their consent.
For customers in emerging mobile markets, the app could be especially devastating as data costs are high and this inconspicuous app was using up to 250mb of their data per day.
Android devices are most at risk as anyone can upload an app and the app will generally perform well if the app provides the service and therefore earning a good rating in the Play store.
It is currently estimated that up to 4% of devices in UK market are infected with malware so in a typical business with around 50 employees 2-3 of their team could be leaking data to malicious sources and raking up considerable costs in data usage. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are approximately 63,000 apps found to contain malicious code which were found on all kinds of devices including Apple.
An antivirus is a key way to fight back against cybercriminals intent on stealing data from your phone.
Signs to watch out for include:
Phone heating up suddenly.
Battery draining suddenly.
Apps found to be using far more data than they should be.