Amazon suspended sales of Blu smartphones after security experts concluded that the company producing the phone collects sensitive user data. During the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, the experts from Kryptowire showed that Chinese based company Shanghai Adups Technology is the group behind the spying software.
Cheap Phones Might Actually Be A Security Threat
Last November, experts at Kryptowire found that Shangai Adups Technology is receiving private user information with the help of spying software preinstalled on the Blu R1 HD smartphone. The Blu R1 HD phone is the top-selling smartphone on Amazon at only $60. The spying technology was tracking the content of the messages, contact lists and call logs and sent the information to Chinese servers every 72 hours.
At the time of the discovery, the group issued a statement that it was a mistake. However, last week, Kryptowire revealed that the Blu smartphones are still sending data to the same company. Ryan Johnson, the co-founder of Kryptowire, stated that he had discovered Adups’ command and control channel as they were stealing the data. This means the company can control the phone remotely without needing permission from the user.
As a result, Amazon suspended the sales of all the Blu models until the issue is resolved. However, the situation is particularly sensitive for Amazon. Adup Technologies was one of the first partners to get involved in the Prime Exclusive Phones service. The service allows Prime members to receive discounts on budget devices. Now, the Blu smartphones are no longer on the list.
Meanwhile, the Chinese company denied the accusations. Adups released a statement that claims there are several policies in place that protect customer privacy. On the other hand, researchers from Kryptowire stated that the spyware is still present, even in newer versions of the phone.
The Blu smartphones were among the pieces of low-end hardware that Kryptowire analyzed and found problematic results. Even though the prices are attractive, there is still a serious problem with digital privacy.
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