Chinese smartphone brand Gionee was found guilty of putting malware on its devices by a Chinese court.
According to this report, the company installed a Trojan Horse that pushes unsolicited ads and other malicious activities without the user’s knowledge. Over 20 million devices were affected between December 2018 and October 2019.C
Court details revealed Gionee subsidiary Shenzhen Zhipu Technology Co., Ltd. connived with another company and installed Trojan Horse programs through an update of the “Story Lock Screen” app, which was automatically updated without users’ consent. It executed a “pull activity” a total of 2.88 billion times. The company is said to have earned an estimated CNY 27.85 million (roughly Php 204,980,000).
A Chinese court ruled the defendant Shenzhen Zhipu Technology Co., Ltd. committed the crime of illegally controlling mobile devices. While defendants Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi were found guilty and were sentenced to 3 to 3.5 years in prison, along with a CNY 200,000 in fines each.
Recently, all eyes were on Huawei as the US government placed the Chinese company on a trade blacklist amidst allegations of security concerns. In actuality, malware issues on cheap Chinese smartphones are the more the more pressing issues. Last August 2020, a report cited two companies (that also have presence in the Philippines) for having pre-installed malware that pushed unwanted ads and even stole information (and in some cases actual money) from users.