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Was Your Smartphone Infected Before You Opened the Box?

Do you use your smartphone for business purposes? You may be one of many unfortunate souls who were gifted with malware before you even opened the packaging. Though most take extreme measures to keep your business’s devices from contracting the odd virus or malware…. what if all of your efforts are for nothing? What can you do when the device was infected before you even started using it? You might be surprised by how often this happens, even to wary business owners.

Two unnamed companies had the misfortune of discovering this after researchers found malware on 40 different company-owned devices. To make matters worse, Check Point, the firm that discovered this malware, believes that the malware was installed on the device before it had even left the factory. To resolve these troubles, the devices required a full reinstall of the operating system to ensure that the malware was removed, the reason being that the malware was installed through system privileges.

The following devices were infected:

  • Galaxy Notes 2, 3, 4, and 5
  • Galaxy Note Edge
  • Galaxy Tab 2 and S2
  • Galaxy S7 and S4
  • Galaxy A5
  • LG G4
  • Xiaomi MI 4i and Redmi
  • ZTE x500
  • Opportunities N3 and R7 Plus
  • Vivo X6 Plus
  • Nexus 5 and 5X
  • Asus Zenfone 2
  • Lenovo S90 and A850

Many of these devices had malware preinstalled on them at an alarming variety. Most of these were simply adware that displayed annoying ads, or malware designed to steal information. Some examples are the Loki malware and the Slocker ransomware–a concerning pair to be found on any device. In most cases of these infections, the programs run in the background with the user being completely unaware. Gone unchecked, these programs continue gathering information over time, no matter how secure the user thinks they’re being.

mobile malwareThese instances certainly aren’t unique, or the first examples of such a malware installation, but it might be just enough to force you to reevaluate your organization’s vetting process. Always have your IT department check out devices before they are put to use; particularly used devices that you may have picked up at a discount. It is always best to purchase from a trusted manufacturer, however, if the device is to be used for work purposes, have it thoroughly checked by your technology professional before any usernames are entered.

If this proves anything at all, it’s that you can’t always trust manufacturers, and that you can never be too diligent when it comes to network security. As such, you should take the necessary precautions to make sure your infrastructure isn’t vulnerable from within thanks to preexisting conditions. If your organization needs help protecting its data, ActiveCo Technology Management can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 425-3433.

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Jeff Penner

Jeff Penner

Jeff has been in the managed services industry since 2015, understanding what business owners are looking for from technology, and helping them find it. The most important element for a business owner taking on a new technology partner is peace of mind and thus Jeff directs his efforts on finding practical information that any leader can apply to their business. Jeff lives in Vancouver, BC, sharing his love for learning and “the great indoors” with his 2 daughters.