A Chinese court found phone manufacturer Gionee guilty of installing Trojan horse malware in over 20 million phones from December 2018 to October 2019.
The People’s Court of Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province found phone manufacturer Gionee guilty of installing Trojan horse malware in over 20 million phones from December 2018 to October 2019.
According to the court investigation Shenzhen Zhipu Technology, a subsidiary of Gionee, together with its partner, Beijing Baice, implanted the malware in Gionee smartphones via an update to the Story Lock Screen app which enabled them to push ads without authorization to make a profit.
The plugin called “Dark Horse Platform” was reportedly installed on the affected phones without informing the users through a hot code push functionality which automatically updates the app without authorization.
The malware was then activated 2.88 billion times between December 2018 and October 2019, which earned 27.85 million yuan ($4.2 million) for the two companies by displaying unsolicited ads and other illegal operations such as data collection.
Shenzen Zhipu’s employees Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi have been each given three years and six months of jail term and slapped with a fine of CNY 200,000 ($30,000.)
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