Cell Phone Virus Affects More than a Million in China

November 11, 2010 6:52 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 6:31 pm

Cell phone virus affects a million: People use mobile phones on a street in Beijing on January 7, 2009. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Cell phone virus affects a million: People use mobile phones on a street in Beijing on January 7, 2009. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
A cell phone virus has spread throughout China affecting more than a million users, according to Chinese media this week.

Cell phone virus-infected users unknowingly sent out randomized spam messages after their phones were infected with malware software, according to the Chinese state-controlled Shanghai Daily.

The virus is found within an anti-virus application and collects SIM card information then transmits it to hackers. The hackers are then able to manipulate and control the phone to send out SMS messages to people in the phone’s address book, according to the Daily.

The messages usually consist of pay-per-click ads and links. If one clicks on the link, the virus will then implant itself in the phone causing it to spread quickly.

During the first week of September, a million phones were affected by the malware, costing their users a total of two million yuan ($300,000) per day.

A phone user in Henan province told state-run broadcaster Xinhua that “the payment list showed that I had sent messages to my friends at mid-night and even some to other phone numbers which I didn't know.”

Chinese state media did not include information about the source of the malware. The Chinese regime trains and employs a cyber-army that is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. On July 15 of this year, a talk on "The Chinese Cyber Army: An Archaeological Study from 2001 to 2010" at the Black Hat conference (arguably the top security research conference in the world) was canceled under pressure from China.

Note: The Chinese state Xinhua News Agency, as described by the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, is a key element of the system of propaganda and censorship put in place by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Although it is more and more regularly cited as a credible source—nearly one third of the news reports on China selected by Google News originate from the agency—Xinhua, the head of which has the rank of minister, is the linchpin of control of the Chinese media. The CCP Propaganda Department sets the tone for Xinhua and all other state-approved media in China.

After being criticized for its lack of transparency, particularly during the SARS epidemic in China, Xinhua started putting out news reports apparently embarrassing to the regime. Xinhua in effect struggles between implementing the CCP Propaganda Department's will directly and gaining international acceptance to spread CCP propaganda more effectively. Sources: Reporters Without Borders, EET.