If You Have A US Government-Funded Android You Are At Risk

Phones provided to low-income families and paid for by the US government are allegedly coming with malware already installed. Not only that, the infected software reportedly can’t be removed from the devices without some consequences. 

A blog post from Malwarebytes Labs on Wednesday details the malware preinstalled on the UMX U686CL, a budget Android phone provided by Assurance Wireless as part of the government’s Lifeline Assistance program. 

On the device were two pieces of malware suspected of being of Chinese origin, according to Malwarebytes Labs, and both are preinstalled onto the phone. One of the malware apps found on the phones can be removed, but it requires multiples steps that could prevent future phone updates. The other, however, hardcodes itself into the Settings app, meaning its removal would make the phone useless. 

Gonzalez, Oscar. “US Government-Funded Android Phones Allegedly Come with Chinese Malware Preinstalled.” CNET, CNET, 10 Jan. 2020, https://www.cnet.com/news/us-government-funded-phones-come-with-chinese-malware-pre-installed/

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