NEW DELHI: Mobile security service Secure-D has found two pre-installed malwares xHelper and Triada on smartphone by Chinese phone brand Tecno, a subsidiary of Transsion Holdings, BuzzFeed reported. The malwares were secretly downloading apps and subscribing users to paid services without their consent. Secure-D solution also blocked 844,000 transactions enabled by pre-installed malware on Transsion smartphones between March and December 2019.
Tecno, in a statement, said, “…we have always attached great importance to consumers’ data security and products safety. Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our own security scan platform, Google Play Protect, GMS BTS and VirusTotal test. In addition, a 90-day security patch update is periodically delivered to consumers to ensure that the security of our products and protection of consumers’ devices from malware infection aren’t compromised.”
Tecno explained that xHelper mobile security issue firstly appeared in 2019. We have deployed professional security tools such as GMS BTS and VirusTotal to detect the xHelper issue since last November. All new product releases and software maintenance releases for old products must go through the test. No reports of xHelper have ever been detected since then.
On Triada, Tecno said after a thorough investigation it was identified that Triada was an old and solved mobile security issue globally, and the fix to the W2 Triada problem was released to all consumers on March 20, 2018. By April 30, 2018, the official OTA fixes adapted for different versions of W2 devices were released, assuring that the problem was fixed once the consumer accepted the system update by installing the fix.
xHelper malware is hard to remove and in many cases would reinstall even after the user has factory reset the phone. Triada is an older malware and once installed, it modifies the core process in the Android OS that is used as a template for every application, which gives it access to every app on the phone.
Though largely dominant in African countries like Nigeria where they control over 70% market, Transsion Holdings also sells phones in India under Tecno, Itel and Infinix brand names.
Tecno brand was launched in India in 2017 and has over 5 million customers. Most of its handsets in India belong to sub 10k budget segment. The brand is present in 60 countries.
According to reports, the company plans to launch 10-12 smartphone models under the brand Tecno brand this year and will be ramping up its manufacturing capacity at Noida facility so it could export to other markets.