Nigeria’s cyber police have alerted of critical security risk found on Tecno phones, the popular Chinese brand in the local market.
Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) says in a cyber threat advisory reviewed by Technology Times that researchers discovered the “critical security risk with Tecno Android phones, which has a pre-installed malware called Triada.”
Tecno is a brand from the Chinese device maker, Transsion, which leads in the Nigerian smartphone market, and also owns iTel and Infinix.
The Nigerian cyber police warn Tecno phone users that the pre-installed malware was found on thousands of the brand sold into the African market.
“The malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households. The malware found on android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, doing so invisibly and without the user’s knowledge”, the ngCERT alert says, citing a report by anti-fraud firm, Upstream, that spotted the malware on Tecno handsets sold in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.
The Nigerian cyber police say “about 200,000 Tecno smartphones are affected even though this threat was only found on 53,000 phones. It was discovered that over 19.2 million suspicious transactions have been recorded since March 2019 from over 200,000 unique devices. The xHelper Trojan persists across reboots, app removals and even factory resets, making it extremely difficult to deal with.”
“Smartphone users are expected to carry out regular and periodical system upgrade to protect themselves from unsuspected threats of this kind”, ngCERT says.
The Nigerian cyber police say that “Tecno Mobile claimed that the issue was “an old and solved mobile security issue globally” to which it issued a fix. Tecno has also claimed it has measures in place to prevent the re-occurrence of such security risk by ensuring that installed software on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks.”
Nigeria’s ngCERT says it is on to achieve a safe, secure and resilient cyberspace in the country that will also provides opportunities for national prosperity.
The local cyber police that was established to prepare, protect, and secure the Nigerian cyberspace “in anticipation of attacks, problems, or events, is also responsible for reducing the volume of future incidents.