Il problem of factory-installed malware on smartphones existsbut in almost every case it does not concern i consumers in Italy. Spyware and trojan horses exist, but not in the iPhones and Android smartphones you buy online or in electronics stores – even the cheapest ones.
Smartphones with pre-installed malware, Italy is safe
Strip the News did a feature on this topic these days, reporting a research by two Trendmicro researchers at Black Hat Asia, entitled “Behind the Scenes: How Criminal Enterprises Pre-infect Millions of Mobile Devices”.
But this problem does not concern our country. Roberto Pezzali explained it very well on DDay: this problem does not concern Italy and the Italians, “unless they decide to buy $50 phones for developing countries”. Which simply do not arrive on our market.
The service is based on a presentation made by Fyodor Yarochkintogether with the colleague Zhengyu Dong. Who explained that the market for low-cost phones have such low margins that manufacturers rely on software providers who offer the platform for free. And therefore there is a risk of spyware, malware and trojan horses.
If Android is free, several other software are needed to launch a smartphone. Like the firmware of all hardware parts. To these are added apps and services from suppliers who want to arrive directly pre-installed, lowering the cost for those who produce these smartphones. But these are brands that do not reach our market – that not even we who deal with the sector have often heard of.
On Italian products you can find too many pre-installed apps, but that’s “bloatware,” not malware. If it bothers you, you can remove it, but there’s no risk of using it.