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Chinese phones with money-stealing malware sold in Africa

Chinese phones are in the hot seat this week over alleged money-stealing malware. 
Chinese phones with money-stealing malware sold in Africa
File photo: TECNO Spark 5 Pro

TECNO phones allegedly infected with malware

Secure-D and BuzzFeed News have found out that some phones of TECNO have been shipped globally with a malware targeted to steal money from their users. 

The Triada and xHelper software would secretly download mobile apps and subscribe to paid services, resulting in unexpected bills and data overages. 

While this is the case, Malwarebytes analyst Nathan Collier stressed the malware cannot be easily removed with just a factory reset. 

The phones infected with malware were shipped to African countries, including Egypt, Ghana, and South Africa. Some devices also landed to Indonesia and Myanmar. 

For March to December of 2019, Secure-D noted it blocked about 844,000 malware transactions during the said period. 

As this raised concerns, Tecno brand's parent company Transsion blamed the malware on a "vendor in the supply chain process". However, it did not disclose the name of the firm.

TECNO Mobile also said that the issue was "an old and solved mobile security issue globally" to which it issued a fix in March 2018.

For current W2 consumers that are potentially facing Triada issues now, they are highly recommended to download the over-the-air fix through their phone for installation or contact Tecno's after-sales service support for assistance in any questions," the firm told the BBC in a statement.

TECNO is one of the newest smartphone brands in the Philippines that recently released the bang-for-the-buck Spark 5 Pro.

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