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Chinese Android smartphones come equipped with malware

star n9500

Image: eBay

If we were you, we’d avoid purchasing the Star N9500 Android smartphone, as a report from German website Heise states that the Chinese smartphone is pre-installed with the Uupay.D trojan.

The malware, which acts as the Google Play Store, collects and copies personal information and uses the phone’s microphone to broadcast phone calls and anything else you’re saying while near the phone to hackers. In addition, text messages will be sent to costly premium services. This caused one Kaspersky security researcher to say that the N9500 “comes from the factory with an extensive espionage program.”

The unfortunate part of all this is the wide availability of the N9500. You can currently buy the handset on eBay for as little as $168 through several sellers, and it doesn’t help that the N9500 bears an uncanny resemblance to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Well over 50 units have been sold, so hopefully they read this before too much personal information gets exposed.

While smartphones usually don’t have malware pre-installed, it isn’t necessarily a new topic when it comes to Android. Earlier this year, security company F-Secure reported that Android was targeted in 97 percent of mobile malware attacks all throughout 2013.