#CyberHeadlines: Adups Secret Feature

#CyberHeadlines: Adups Secret Feature

Sending Sensitive Data to Shanghai Server, Unwittingly to Users

An elusive story was released by the NY Times on Tuesday, November 15, about a Chinese software which collects data from phones, unwittingly from the owner. The Shanghai Adups Technology Company, who wrote the software, claims their code runs on more than 700 million smart devices; including phones, cars and other smart devices. This software was allegedly only meant for Chinese consumers, but an American phone manufacturer, called BLU Products, said 120,000 of its products had been affected. These phones were having all their text messages and other data sent to a server in Shanghai, automatically, every 72 hours. What is most suspicious, to me, is that no one seems to know the true intent of the software to begin with. Adups claims that the software is implemented for the purpose of monitoring user behavior. Adups’ statement on the subject also said that the company used the data for customer support. An executive at Adups claimed that the software was meant to identify junk messages and calls. Adups also advertises big data services on their website, to help companies study customers for better ad targeting efforts, etc.

Adups services ZTE and Huawei, whom are some of the largest phone manufacturers in the world. Google had already been cognizant of the issue as they asked the software to be removed from devices that used apps/services such as Google play apps. There is some speculation that this software was being used to syphon information to the Chinese government, but proof had yet to be seen. Kryptowire, who discovered the true nature of this software, have promised to publicize their report as early as next week.

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