AfterDawn: Tech news

Chinese security firm accused of planting malware on phones

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 27 Mar 2011 16:55

Chinese security firm accused of planting malware on phones A firm in China is accused of planting malware on new phones.
NetQin, a Chinese security firm, has found itself denying that it has conspired to plant malicious software on users' handsets in order to entice them to buy its security software that is capable of removing it. The situation came to light after a report by 3.15 Gala, a Chinese consumer rights programme broadcast on state television.

Applications are often installed on phones in China by dealers who are modifying the phones firmware to work in the country. One such application for Symbian handsets is Feiliu, which attempts too download and install components from the Internet when a connection becomes available.

The software is designed to remove security software installed on a phone, and is also causes the phone to run slow and unstable. Here's where NetQuin comes in, with a solution that can remove the annoyance from a handset and all just for 2 Yuan a go.

Where things start to smell bad is the fact that NetQin is the second largest investor in the firm that developed the Feiliu software in the first place. Not suspicious enough? What if co-founders of both firms worked on their PhDs together? Well, they did.

"We learnt from the CCTV video and transcript that staff from Feiliu admit that co-founders for NetQin and Feiliu worked on their PhDs together and NetQin had an investment of 495,000 Yuan in Feiliu, making NetQin the second largest shareholder," said Mark Harris, VP of SophosLabs.

"All this certainly seems to suggest that the two companies are plotting together rather strategically, at the cost of the mobile phone users affected."

Tags: China
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