Households with low incomes are able to get cheap cell services and also free smartphones via the US government-funded Lifeline Assistance program. But there is a catch as this US-funded Android phone comes pre-installed with free malware you can’t remove.
According to security researchers a relatively unknown smartphone, UMX U686Cl is being offered Virgin Mobile under the Assurance Wireless plan which is funded by the US government’s Lifeline Assurance program and it comes with a pre-installed malware which users cannot remove. The $53 phone comes with this unwanted nuisance along with it.
According to Malwarebytes senior analyst Nathan Collier, the malware tool is a creation of a Chinese entity known as Adups. The tool looks innocent as it operates as a Wireless Update program but is capable of auto-installing apps without any user consent.
Since the malware functions as the phone’s Setting app users cannot forcibly remove it and risk of not getting updates and render the phone practically useless.
The malware has originated from China and also the UMX phone is shipped from China, neither Virgin Mobile nor the US government is aware of its presence in the mobiles.
Further, Malwarebytes reported UMX is not the only pre-installing unremovable malware on phones and things could actually be getting worse as time goes by.