Some Blu phones are still shipping with spyware that sends private info to China


If you've ever browsed through Amazon's smartphones section, there's no doubt you've seen the huge amount of Blu devices available there. And there's a fairly good reason for that: the U.S. phone maker's devices are dirt-cheap, a feature which has consistently skyrocketed them into the best-selling charts on the retailer's website. And all was good and well until late last year, when researchers a Kryptowire discovered that some of the company's most popular devices came pre-loaded with spyware which transmitted private data to Chinese servers.

And last we heard, Blu claimed it would be giving up on the offending software and replacing it with a Google-made alternative, while Adups, the Chinese company who built the software, disabled the spying functionality on the two devices it was discovered on. However, the story doesn't end there: according to Kryptowire, the issue is still prevalent on "low profile" devices, including ones from Blu. Transmitted private information includes text message and call logs, list of apps installed, and cell tower IDs (which can be used for location tracking).

The spyware can still be found on at least three devices, according to the researchers: one of those is the Blu Grand M, which was tested Adups positive in May, more than six months after the initial discovery of the tracking software. And Blu devices aren't the only ones affected: the Cubot X16S was also found to be running Adups' software. Curiously enough, after the researchers contacted Adups regarding this, the Cubot stopped transmitting private data.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that many of Blu's devices are in reality just rebranded versions of phones from Chinese phone maker Gionee. Since China doesn't have access to Google services, local manufacturers use third-party solutions (such as Adups itself, which is a targeted advertising platform). So Blu seems to be the one at fault here, as it didn't properly audit the software on said devices before slapping its logo on them.

via CNET

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7 Comments

1. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Let them browse my porn collection. f**king assholes.

2. drunkenjay

Posts: 1699; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

and this is why you don't buy chinese phones.

6. Shamoy

Posts: 112; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

I still can't convince my sheep friends who buy them just because they're cheap.

3. PhoneGuru42

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 25, 2017

Every single phone company spies on your data, stay woke

7. Shamoy

Posts: 112; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

I would rather not have my data sent to China. Anywhere else is not as concerning.

4. domfonusr

Posts: 1092; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I like what BLU is doing with smartphone designs and price (cheap phones based on designs from China, planned in the US and assembled in South America last I heard), but this crap with spyware from China is insane. I would consider buying BLU products if it wasn't for the fear of this garbage being on the phone, and maybe they need to get rid of Opera browser, now that it is China-owned. I used to like Opera browser on my Nokia's, but after ownership transferred it just can't be trusted. Why oh why would they have to rely on servers in China to store my info?

5. Nunazty

Posts: 30; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

Code blue for the BLU company

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