Malware dubbed “DeathRing” has recently been found pre-installed in several China brands.
According to Lookout security:
“The Trojan masquerades as a ringtone app, but instead can download SMS and WAP content from its command and control server to the victim’s phone. It can then use this content for malicious means.
For example, DeathRing might use SMS content to phish victim’s personal information by fake text messages requesting the desired data. It may also use WAP, or browser, content to prompt victims to download further APKs — concerning given that the malware authors could be tricking people into downloading further malware that extends the adversary’s reach into the victim’s device and data.
The malware is activated in two ways — both dependent on the victim’s use of the phone. First, the malware will activate if the phone is powered down and rebooted five times. On the fifth reboot, the malware starts. Second, the malicious service will start after the victim has been away and present at the device at least fifty times.”
At this time, it’s unknown where along the supply chain the malware is loaded onto the phone.
The models found to be affected so far are:
- Counterfeit Samsung GS4/Note II
- Various TECNO devices
- Gionee Gpad G1
- Gionee GN708W
- Gionee GN800
- Polytron Rocket S2350
- Hi-Tech Amaze Tab
- Karbonn TA-FONE A34/A37
- Jiayu G4S – Galaxy S4 Clone
- Haier H7
- No manufacturer specified i9502+ Samsung Clone
Though these are some of the models found to have the software, it doesn’t mean that all copies have it. It could be only a very select few copies routed through an unscrupulous middle man or shop.