Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Smartphones for low-income families in the United States have recently been found to have malicious programs, and more seriously, it is impossible to remove the malicious program without affecting the normal operation of the phone. Citing a blog post published by Malwarebytes Labs on Wednesday, it detailed the malicious program that was pre-installed in the UMX U686CL phone. It’s a cheap Android phone led by the U.S. government’s Lifeline Rescue program and provided by Wireless Assurance.

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

The blog says there are two malicious programs on the low-end Android phone, all of which are pre-installed and embedded directly into the system code. Although one of the malicious programs can be removed, it requires cumbersome steps and prevents future version updates, while another malicious program hard-codes itself into the Settings app, meaning that removing it will render the phone unusable.

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

Is a mobile phone for low-income families in the United States pre-installed with malicious programs? Bricks will change after removal

In a subsequent statement, Sprint, the parent company of Assurance Wireless, said the two programs should not be classified as malicious. “We have identified this issue and contacted device manufacturer Unimax to understand the root cause,” the company said in a statement filed Friday. But after our initial testing, we believe that the two applications described by the media are malicious programs. “