BLU’s cheap phones found to be secretly sending sensitive user info to China

BLU's cheap phones aren't so safe

When looking to acquire a budget smartphone, most of us probably look towards Chinese manufacturers. But there are some US-based companies that also offer handsets at a bargain. Like BLU.

The handset maker is relatively well known for its affordable products which rarely exceed $200. The phones seem like a good deal for those don’t want to spend a fortune on mobile technology, but are they really worth it?

US security firm, Kyptowire discovered that some BLU smartphone house a so called “backdoor” which allows copies of users’ texts, contacts lists and related to be sent every 72 hours to a software firm based in Shanghai, going by the name AdUps Technologies. What’s more, info about location and app usage was also beamed out every 24 hours.

blu_purexr_backApparently the Shanghai firm collected the data for advertising reasons, but it did so without users’ knowledge or consent

BLU apparently had no clue this is happening. The fault was found in the third-party software BLU utilizes to send out over-the-air (OTA) updates to its products, which was provided by AdUps. For its part the Chinese firm claims the software wasn’t even meant for the US market, but somehow made it through.

Apparently in June, BLU employed a version of the AdUps firmware app on its devices that “inadvertently” included a function designed to flag junk texts and calls.

blu_r1hd_backTo build up more credibility, AdUps claimed Android OEMs ZTE and Huawei are part of its client list, although both companies denied having anything to do with the Chinese software provider.

In the meanwhile, BLU has acknowledged 120,000 of its devices have been affected by the vulnerability. BLU said it has sent out a software update to block the “backdoor” from sending any more sensitive data to China.

Sensing an opportunity, class action lawsuit firm, Rosen Legal has also entered the equation. The firm is inviting customers who have purchased BLU products to file legal action against the smartphone company.

blu-facing-lawsuitThe scandal seems far from over, although BLU has assured its customers that the data picked up by AdUps has been destroyed.

This raises concerns whether extremely cheap handsets are actually safe to use, although bigger companies like HTC have had their shares of security woes A few years back the Taiwanese device maker was accused that its HTC Logger and Carrier IQ tools left the door open to hijacking of personal data.

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