Gionee Found Guilty of Intentionally Injecting Malware Into 20 Million Phones: Report

Gionee is said to have used an app to plague users with ads and make profits.

Gionee Found Guilty of Intentionally Injecting Malware Into 20 Million Phones: Report

Shenzhen Zhipu and Beijing Baice reportedly executed “pull activities” a total of 2.88 billion times.

Highlights
  • Gionee is reported to have injected malware via Story Lock Screen app
  • The companies indulged in “pull activities” to make profits
  • Gionee may have earned over CNY 27.85 million (roughly Rs. 31.4 crores)

Gionee has been found guilty by a Chinese court of intentionally inflicting malware in over 20 million phones. The court verdict details were published by China Judgment Document Network and reported by the Chinese media. A Trojan horse malware was injected into Gionee phones through an app, and this malicious activity was carried out between December 2018 and October 2019. Gionee is said to have used this app to plague users with ads and make profits.

Chinese media CNBeta.com reports that Gionee is found guilty of these malpractices by a Chinese court. The report shares details of the verdict published by China Judgment Document Network “on the illegal control of computer information systems”, disclosing details of Gionee phones becoming "broilers". The court found that Beijing Baice Technology cooperated with the defendant Shenzhen Zhipu Technology (a subsidiary of Gionee) to implant malware into Gionee Phones through an update of "Story Lock Screen" app. The app was automatically updated with Trojan plug-ins without the users' knowledge, and then “Dark Horse Platform” was used to install and update the “Living Trojan Horse” onto Gionee phones.

Shenzhen Zhipu Technology and Beijing Baice Technology then indulged in unethical activities using the pull method. The report says that the two companies successfully executed “pull activities” a total of 2.88 billion times. Unsolicited ads were also showed to affected users to make profits. The report says Shenzhen Zhipu could have earned over CNY 27.85 million (roughly Rs. 31.4 crores) from Beijing Baice Company's “pulling businesses”, and their estimated expenses are said to be at CNY 8.425 million (roughly Rs. 9.5 crores). Since April 2019, the number of "pulling" handsets covered every month exceeded 21.75 million.

Both the parties have been reportedly awarded three years and six months of jail term and slapped with a fine of CNY 200,000 (roughly Rs. 22.5 lakhs), each.


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Further reading: Gionee, Malware, Gionee case, Trojan horse
Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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