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Pre-Hacked Smartphones

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Everybody likes their smartphone. And there’s no doubt they are great, useful tools for today’s life.

But one of the problems with technology is that all these cool toys create new ways for people to get our information.  And when the toys come pre-hacked – well, it’s even more difficult to keep secure.

Researchers at Palo Alto Networks recently discovered that certain Android smartphones manufactured by Coolpad come with a pre-installed backdoor that provides a hacker full access to the device. The backdoor allows additional software to be installed, enables access to any information about the device, and even can notify the user of fake updates. And normal Android antivirus often can’t find or remove this backdoor.

While these phones are mostly sold in China, they do bring up an important point.  As more and more of our technology comes from the lowest cost manufacturer, we often have no way of knowing what that manufacturer includes in the base hardware in that technology.  So it will probably become more common to find pre-hacked technology being sold.

What do you do? In the words of former President Reagan, you need to ‘trust, but verify’. That means taking a layered approach to your system security such that no one device controls the complete security picture. If you need assistance with this approach, feel free to contact us.

If you want to read the full Palo Alto Networks report, you can find it here.

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  • What’s a Firewall? Why Does It Matter?
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