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Chinese brand offering cheaper smartphones steal users money and data: Report

Tecno
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Tecno Mobile

Highlights

The smartphones come pre-installed with xHelper and Triada that use up data and subscribe the user to paid subscriptions without their knowledge.

We buy Chinese-manufactured smartphones for the reason that they offer good specs at reasonable prices. The well-known brands like Xiaomi and Realme satisfy such needs, specifically in the budget range. It turns out one Chinese brand that offered cheaper smartphones was stealing data and also money from users.

Tecno is the brand in question that is presented by the company Transsion Holdings. The company has two more brands (Itel and Infinix) through which it provides entry-level budget phones. Tecno and Infinix are moderately popular in India, but they are hugely popular in Africa market. And this is where the whole incident happened as per an investigation by Secure-D, a mobile security service and BuzzFeed.

It was learnt that in one particular Tecno W2 phone there were two malware, Triada and xHelper. The apps were being downloaded on the phone without the user's knowledge that also subscribed to paid services. The user discovered that his prepaid data was consumed and also received messages about the paid subscriptions which he never signed up for.

Transsion confirmed the existence of Triada and xHelper malware on some Tecno W2 phones. But the company blamed a vendor in the supply chain, Buzzfeed reported. Transsion also said that it did not receive any profit from the malware. It also declined to say how many of its phones were infected with malware. As per Secure-D, its security system blocked around 844,000 fraudulent transactions that happened due to pre-installed malware on Transsion phones amid March and December last year.

Secure-D had also learnt Alcatel smartphones offered by TCL Communication that came with pre-installed malware. The same was discovered in its phones sold in Brazil and Myanmar that used malware for fraudulent transactions. Alcatel is not available in India, but like Infinix and Tecno, it offers some crazy specs at entry-level prices.

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