Millions of Android TVs and smartphones may have malware pre-installed

Two recent reports also revealed that Android devices may have pre-installed malware that is not easy to remove. ArsTechnica writes.

One of the reports was generated by security company Trend Micro. Researchers reported finding 8.9 million infected phones from 50 different brands. For the first time, researchers from security firm Sophos have documented that Guerrilla, as the malware has been named, is present in 15 malicious apps that Google has admitted to entering the Play Store.

Guerrilla opens a backdoor that causes infected machines to periodically connect to a remote server to check for the installation of new malicious updates. These updates collect data about users that can be sold to advertisers by a group called the Lemon Group. Guerrilla then installs aggressive ad platforms that can drain battery reserves and reduce user experience.

Most infected phones were found in the United States, followed by Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia. Trend Micro did not identify the affected brands.

The second report, posted by TechCrunch, details Android TV devices sold through Amazon that came with malware pre-installed. TVs report to a server that, like Guerrilla’s servers, can remotely install any application. The default malware that comes pre-installed on TVs is known as clickbot. Generates advertising revenue by secretly displaying ads in the background.

Those who want to buy an Android phone and want to be sure of it should turn to well-known brands like Samsung, Asus or OnePlus, which usually have more reliable quality assurance controls. So far, there have been no reports on high-end Android devices and similarly there are no such reports on iPhones either.

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