Security researchers say Tecno phones were shipped with malware to steal money from users

Some disturbing reports from security researchers indicate that Tecno devices which are popularly used here in Kenya were shipped with money stealing malware. This might come as a shocker to many Kenyans who have over the years preferred the phone maker due to its reasonable pricing and somewhat ideal specifications for the average consumer.

Reports from several top tech websites such as androidauthority, buzzfeed and even techradar indicate that researchers have identified a potential malware in the name of Triada and the xHelper software that would quietly download apps and subscribe users to paid services without their consent. This in turn resulted in unexpected bills and data overages for consumers who mostly come from low income economies.

The irony with all the findings is that politicians from various countries across the world are so focused on Huawei and trying to thwart its services while the main culprits are buzzy selling phones to millions of unsuspecting disadvantaged consumers.

For those who are thinking of doing factory resets, unfortunately the software cannot be removed by just resetting to factory settings. Mostly affected Tecno phones are the W series which have been sold in various countries such as South Africa, Egypt and Ghana. It’s yet to be clear the extend of affected phones but hope those sold in Kenya are not affected.

Tecno’s parent company Transsion, has pinned the malware on an unnamed vendor in the supply chain process. Tecno further says they released software fixes for Triada in March 2018 and xHelper in late 2019. But the problem seems like it hasn’t gone away as security firm Secure-D said it was still blocking Triada and xHelper on Transsion phones through April 2020, and it may simply be dormant.


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