Looks like a Samsung, but, this cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphone carried by major online retailers does more than other smartphones, in “calls home” from its pre-installed espionage software, says a German security firm.
G Data Software says it found a malicious code hidden deep in the propriety software of the Star N9500 when it ordered the handset from a website late last month. The find is the latest in a series of incidents where smartphones have appeared preloaded with malicious software.
G Data spokesman Thorsten Urbanski said his firm bought the phone after getting complaints about it from several customers. He said his team spent more than a week trying to trace the handset’s maker without success.
“The manufacturer is not mentioned,” he said. “Not in the phone, not in the documentation, nothing else.” G Data said the spyware it found on the N9500 could allow a hacker to steal personal data, place rogue calls, or turn on the phone’s camera and microphone. G Data said the stolen information was sent to a server in China.
Bjoern Rupp, chief executive of the Berlin-based mobile security consultancy firm GSMK, told Associated Press such cases are more common than people think. Last fall, German cellphone service provider E-Plus found malicious software on some handsets delivered to customers of its Base brand.
“We have to assume that such incidents will increasingly occur, for different commercial and other reasons,” said Rupp.
The Star N9500 is not available in Costa Rica retail store shelves, but it can be ordered over the internet at several major online retailers, including eBay* where it can be purchased for around ¢93.000 colones (US$165), including shipping.
The spy software we assume is free!
Source: Associated Press, with editing from QCostarica
* The eBay link is for illustrative purposes and not meant to promote a purchase, nor is it a paid advertising.