The firmware sent text message contents, call data and app usage details to Shanghai, researchers found
A number of Android smartphones included firmware that sends detailed user information to servers in Shanghai, researchers have found.
The handsets, including low-end devices sold online by Amazon and Best Buy, transmitted data including the full body of text messages, contact lists, call history with telephone numbers, unique device identifiers and other data to servers owned by the firmware s maker, Shanghai AdUps Technology, according to Kryptowire.
As smartphones are ubiquitous and, in many cases, a business necessity, our findings underscore the need for more transparency at every stage of the supply chain, the firm said in an advisory.
The devices affected include the BLU R1 HD, a popular device marketed by Amazon in the US, Kryptowire said.
AdUps said it designed the firmware for Chinese phone manufacturers and carriers to help them track customer behaviour for advertising purposes.