German Security Firm Finds Chinese Phone Comes Preloaded With Spyware

June 17, 2014 12:20 pm Last Updated: June 20, 2014 5:45 pm

BERLIN—A German security firm says that a cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphone comes preinstalled with espionage software.

G Data Software says it ordered a Star N9500 handset from an online retailer last month and found malicious code hidden deep in the device’s proprietary software.

The firm said the spyware could allow a third party to steal personal data, place rogue calls, or even use the phone’s camera and microphone as improvised surveillance devices.

The find is the latest in a series of incidents where smartphones have appeared on customers’ doorsteps preloaded with malicious software.

Star’s manufacturer could not immediately be located, even though the phone is carried by several major retailers.

G Data said Tuesday it spent more than a week trying to track the phone’s maker without success.