Xiaomi OTA update will require users to enable its cloud messaging service

Xiaomi OTA update will require users to enable its cloud messaging service
On-line security firm F-Support, recently discovered that Xiaomi handsets with the MIUI user interface, were indeed sending data back to servers in China. This was a huge confirmation of an earlier report that claimed the Xiaomi Redmi Note was sending photos and texts to servers in China. A cursory look at the IP address found a connection to the Chinese government.

F-Secure found that the entry-level Xiaomi Redmi 1S sent to the Beijing located server, information such as the name of the carrier, phone number, IMEI number (unique for each phone), phone numbers from the contacts list, and texts. Hugo Barra, who came over to Xiaomi from Google, said that this is all part of the manufacturer's MIUI cloud service, which allows your texts to be sent over the internet for free, instead of using your carrier's SMS pipeline.

Xiaomi had the service, which is similar to Apple's iMessage, on by default without any instructions to users. With an OTA update scheduled for today, each phone's owner will now have to enable the cloud messaging service. Wondering what happened to all of that information sent to those Chinese servers? According to Barra, the information was encrypted and stayed on the server only long enough to make sure that a text message was delivered immediately to its recipient.

source: F-Secure, +HugoBarra via TheNextWeb, Engadget

Related phones

Redmi 1S
  • Display 4.7" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.6 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2000 mAh



1. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

All your data are belong to us! --Chinese government

2. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Yeah we get it, the Chinese doesn't speak English all that good.

3. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009


4. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

That's Android, gentlemen. Pure freedom for everyone, including vendors, governments, rendering your privacy to public domain.

5. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Kool. Better to know, then think like sheep that the wall is keeping you safe from big brother. That cake is also a lie.

7. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Keep telling yourself a lie does not make it true. Apple has been known to work with NSA. Just Google it. Google has spoken out before Microsoft and Apple did. All parties are guilty on this matter.

8. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

Apple at least encrypts the data, unlike XiaoMi.

10. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Did you read the article yourself, XiaoMi also encrypts the data and store in the Chinese server. This are industries standard practice. You are comparing pots and kettles here. I have no problem with Apple in fact i am the first person to introduce my company to iPad and iPhone when it first came out before the boom. I just hope you keep your perceptive. Your money, your choice.

11. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

"according to Barra", and he lied.

12. iushnt

Posts: 3147; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

And "according to jacklee", and that's highly believable?

14. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I would like to thank the media for forcing Xiaomi to change for the better. As I say I don't require to login into either MiCloud or Google services for OTA update because it's not my personal phone. I buy them on friends behalf. Maybe in the past they did require. Not sure my Samsung Android devices require Samsung account for update as I have create their account and auto log in from day one. I also don't have a fuss with my Apple ID requirement from Apple. Bottom line don't use the product you don't like or trust. For me they are the same, under smart phone OEMs.

15. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"Apple at least encrypts the data, unlike XiaoMi." Uh huh. Like this, I am sure: miT -- .krow doog eht pu peeK ,ekaJ

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

"Xiaomi OTA update will require users to enable its cloud messaging service" I just updated another RedMi Note yesterday without logging in to Google Services or MiCloud. It was a new unit out of the box, just power on the phone, connect to my home WiFi and update. I wonder who in PA has done the testing to made this claim. XiaoMi is selling out for its price, and their zero cents advertising keep them afloat compare to Samsung billion dollar spending with high product markup. Apple highest possible markup and low advertising make them the richest smart phone OEM.

13. Alan01

Posts: 640; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

The update was sent out on August 10th (Sunday) and will only affect new units or those which have been factory reset. This is noted in the article, if you read the quote from Hugo Barra. Alan F.

16. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Thanks for your clarification. Xiaomi Singapore shared Hugo Barra's status. 21 hours ago MIUI Cloud Messaging & Privacy Xiaomi is a mobile Internet company committed to providing high-quality products and easy-to-use Internet services. We believe it is our top priority to protect user data and privacy. We do not upload or store private information or data without the permission of users. This Q&A aims to address privacy concerns raised over the past 48 hours. Q: What is MIUI Cloud Messaging? A: Xiaomi offers a free service called Cloud Messaging as part of its MIUI operating system. This service allows MIUI users to exchange text messages with each other free of SMS charges, by routing messages via IP instead of using the carrier’s SMS gateway. Q: How does Cloud Messaging work? Does it store any private user information? A: When a Mi phone is turned on, the Cloud Messaging service is automatically activated through IP communication protocol with Xiaomi servers, in order to provide the user with the free text messaging capability. MIUI Cloud Messaging uses SIM and device identifiers (phone number, IMSI and IMEI) for routing messages between two users, in the same way as some of the most popular messaging services. Some technical implementation details are provided below. Users’ phonebook contact data or social graph information (i.e. the mapping between contacts) are never stored on Cloud Messaging servers, and message content (in encrypted form) is not kept for longer than necessary to ensure immediate delivery to the receiver. Q: How does this relate to the privacy concerns raised about Xiaomi over the last 48 hours? What’s your response? A: A recent article in Taiwan and a related report by F-Secure raised privacy concerns by stating that Xiaomi devices are sending phone numbers to Xiaomi’s servers. These concerns refer to the MIUI Cloud Messaging service described above. As we believe it is our top priority to protect user data and privacy, we have decided to make MIUI Cloud Messaging an opt-in service and no longer automatically activate users. We have scheduled an OTA system update for today (Aug 10th) to implement this change. After the upgrade, new users or users who factory reset their devices can enable the service by visiting “Settings > Mi Cloud > Cloud Messaging” from their home screen or “Settings > Cloud Messaging” inside the Messaging app — these are also the places where users can turn off Cloud Messaging. We apologize for any concern caused to our users and Mi fans. We would also like to thank the media and users who have been sending us feedback and suggestions, allowing us to improve and provide better Internet services. Q: How exactly does the MIUI Cloud Messaging system handle phone numbers? A: For those interested in specific details about the MIUI Cloud Messaging implementation: - The primary identifiers used to route messages are the sender and receiver’s phone

9. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I have a RedMi 1S & RedMi Note in my household, and I can confirm that it isn't necessary to enable the cloud messaging service. In fact, it was disabled by default. Maybe it's a China-specific update, because I'm currently using the SIngaporean version

18. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Apple & Samsung FAN-BOYS just can't admit and digest that there is a far superior phone available from xiaomi (in terms of performance and build quality) at an unimaginable affordable price.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.