Thousands of cheap tablets sold on Amazon have Trojans pre-installed

cloudsota trojan malware on cheap tablets amazon shutterstock tablet travel airport
Shutterstock/Pressmaster
Security researchers at Cheetah Mobile have discovered potentially thousands of Android tablets for sale on Amazon that come pre-installed with a Trojan called Cloudsota.

The Cloudsota Trojan has root permissions and can give its author remote control of your device, as well as install adware, malware, or even uninstall your anti-virus app. The researchers believe that the Trojan originated in China.

Cheetah’s researchers claim, based on anonymous data, that at least 17,233 infected tablets have been shipped to users, mostly in Mexico and the United States.


The affected devices are mostly low-price tablets. Cheetah Mobile notes that around 30 manufacturers have tablets infected with this Trojan. Most often, it is tablets without a clear or well-known brand name that are affected. The researchers state that they have contacted the manufacturers, Amazon, and a number of other online retailers with their concerns but have yet to hear back.

“When we discover a questionable tablet, we send a notification to Amazon explaining the issue,” they said.

The majority of devices affected are low cost “no brand” tablets. Devices manufactured with Allwinner chips are the “most severely affected.” Other brands affected include SoftWinners, Advance, Rockchip, Joinet, and SW.

Customers should be extra wary of cheap tablets that may look like a good deal, but could be very risky, the researchers warn. People are advised to check the user reviews on these devices, which highlight some of the tell-tale signs.

“It always downloads malware on its own and has got to the point now where I cant [sic] connect to wi-fi or else i’m constantly bombarded by adverts making all apps crash, freeze or just unusable,” said one user in September 2014.

As recently as last month, people were posting similar reviews. Another said a Yuntab tablet was “Loaded with malware/adware that can’t be removed. Shows full screen pop ads all the time and suspends app you have running.”

If you purchased a tablet like this, some of the signs that you have been infected include constant ad pop-ups, changing homepages, and other apps regularly crashing. In many cases, rebooting the device will not remove the Cloudsota Trojan either.

“While most people have no idea about Cloudsota’s potential risks, it is a ticking time bomb threatening your privacy and property,” added the researchers, pointing out that the Trojan has in fact existed for some time.

In the meantime, it’s recommended that you don’t buy tablets from unknown brands on Amazon, especially if you see red flags like poor reviews and dubious branding.

Product Review

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary review

Tired of carrying around keys? Make keyless entry so easy that all you have to do is have your phone nearby to open the door. It’s a little pricey, but sleek lines and simple features make the Kwikset Kevo Contemporary a great choice for…
Smart Home

Speed up cooking with one of the best pressure cookers on the market

Not all pressure cookers are created equally. You have to choose between stovetop cookers, multicookers, canners, and even microwave cookers. Our pressure cooking buyer's guide includes our picks for the best in each category.
Gaming

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.