With the recent controversy of shipping banned pre-loaded apps in Poco M2 Pro, the talks about the pre-installed default applications are once again under the scanner. Now, as per a report, the pre-installed apps could be a medium for targeted adware and malware in a smartphone.
As per a report by Kaspersky, 14.8 per cent of its users who were targeted by malware or adware in 2019 suffered a system partition infection. This resulted in malicious files undeletable. The report highlights that the pre-installed default applications are one of the cause for this infection. The report highlights that depending on the brand, the risk of undeletable applications varies from one to five per cent in low-cost devices and goes up to 27 per cent in extreme cases.
According to Kaspersky researchers, this type of infection is becoming a more common way to install adware in a smartphone. The infection can take place by two paths. First, it can gain root access on a device and installs adware in the system partition. The second way is through the code for displaying ads that gets into the firmware of the device before it even ends up in the hands of the consumer.
The report further highlights that some of the adware modules were pre-installed before the user even received the device, meaning that it could have been added by the smartphone manufacturers. “For instance, many smartphones have functions providing remote access to the device – if abused, such a feature could lead to a data compromise of a user’s device,” the company said in a statement.
“A few vendors have openly admitted to embedding adware in their smartphones. While some allow it to be disabled, others do not and they describe it as part of their business model to reduce the cost of the device for the end-user. Often, the user has little choice between buying the device at the full price, or a little cheaper with lifetime advertising,” the company said.
To avoid risks prompted by adware on mobile devices, Kaspersky recommends:
Check for user reviews before purchasing a device;
If your device is infected, check for firmware updates or try to install alternative firmware, at your own risk;
Use a reliable security solution for mobile devices, such as Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, that can help detect a variety of threats, including adware