According to a report on CNN business, a software that eats up mobile data and registers people for unwanted subscriptions has been found pre-installed on thousands of a popular brand of Chinese smartphone, Techno, sold in African countries. The problem has resurfaced two years after it was first discovered.
The mobile security service Secure -D discovered that the Tecno W2 phone was infected with xHelper and Triada, malwares that auto download apps and subscribe users to paid services without their knowledge. Secure-D found 19.2 million suspicious transactions since March 2019 that occurred on over 200,000 unique devices, mainly in Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon and South Africa.
China’s Transsion Holdings, makers of the Tecno brand blamed an “unidentified vendor in the supply chain,” for the malware.
Arbiterz spoke to phone dealers at the popular Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos about the malware. Though one or two dealers expressed fears the news could affect sales of Techno phones, the overwhelming consensus was that it was not an issue in Nigeria. No phone dealer has heard of even a single case of a Techno phone user reporting being affected by the malware though the company informed the dealers about the threat and recalled the particular model affected even in Nigeria.
Western countries have raised issues about the security of Chinese technology, expressing concerns that the Communist Government could use Chinese-made consumer products, services or hardware to garner information secretly. The Techno malware incident raises another concern- the possibility of rogue or mafia-like elements in the supply chain to steal consumer information and cash.
Here is what a few of the dealers had to say:
Frank- Elclassico Phones and Gadgets
Yes, I was aware about the issue. But this happened a long time ago, back in 2018. And Tecno released a statement in March 2018 saying the Triada issue affected only a version of the Tecno W2 devices. And then in April 2018, Tecno released the official OTA fixes adapted for different versions of W2 devices, assuring users that the problem was fixed once users accepted the system update by installing the fix. I haven’t really been bothered about it since then. I also advice people to go for similar versions of the Tecno phone, not to buy the actual W2 series.
Collins- Able God Mobile Shop
This is actually an old issue that has been taken up and fixed by Tecno so I don’t know why these blogs are bringing it up again. I don’t think any Nigerian user actually had an issue like that with the device. I do not know anyone who has had the problem. Tecno said the problem was from an unidentified vendor in the supply chain process, but honestly you really can’t trust these guys. I stopped stocking the Tecno W2 phones immediately I heard about the malware then. I sent the ones I had in stock back to the company.
Wale- Buzztizzo Phones and Gadgets
For a dealer like me that deals with mostly just android phones, it was a bit shocking when I heard about it a few days ago. The first time something like this happened was in 2018 and Tecno claimed that they had fixed the issue already. So, seeing it in the news again just made me scared. You know how news can travel so fast. I am thinking of the potential on my business. Users won’t even care about the fact that it is just the Tecno W2 series that was affected, they may be reluctant to buy any Tecno product.
Tope- Topsy Gadgets link
Computer village are aware about the issue and Tecno themselves has assured us that there should be no cause for alarm. They claimed it was an old malware issue and it had been fixed a long time ago. People hardly buy this said Tecno W2 from me though. I don’t know about other phone dealers. It is like the cheapest Tecno phone in the market. Only users on a very low budget buy it. I can say the saga doesn’t concern me really. I don’t even think end users in Nigeria are really aware about the issue. Only we phone dealers know about it. People are still flocking here to buy Tecno phones daily. I sell at least ten Techno phones daily.