'When Mxolosi saw a Tecno W2 smartphone in a store in Johannesburg,
South Africa, he was attracted to its looks and functionality. But
what really drew him in was the price, roughly $30 -- far less than
comparable models from Samsung, Nokia, or Huawei, Africa's other top
brands. It was another sale for Transsion, the Chinese company that
makes Tecno and other low-priced smartphones, as well as basic
handsets, for the developing world. Since releasing its first
smartphone in 2014, the upstart has grown to become Africa's top
handset seller, beating out longtime market leaders Samsung and Nokia.
But its success can come at a price. Mxolosi, an unemployed
41-year-old, became frustrated with his Tecno W2. Pop-up ads
interrupted his calls and chats. He'd wake up to find his prepaid data
mysteriously used up and messages about paid subscriptions to apps
he'd never asked for.
He thought it might be his fault, but according to an investigation by
Secure-D, a mobile security service, and BuzzFeed News, software
embedded in his phone right out of the box was draining his data while
trying to steal his money. Mxolosi's Tecno W2 was infected with
xHelper and Triada, malware that secretly downloaded apps and
attempted to subscribe him to paid services without his knowledge.
Secure-D's system, which mobile carriers use to protect their networks
and customers against fraudulent transactions, blocked 844,000
transactions connected to preinstalled malware on Transsion phones
between March and December 2019. Secure-D Managing Director Geoffrey
Cleaves told BuzzFeed News that Mxolosi's data was used up by the
malware as it attempted to subscribe him to paid services. Along with
South Africa, Tecno W2 phones in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana,
Indonesia, and Myanmar were infected.'
-- source: https://it.slashdot.org/story/20/08/24/2139209
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174