TECNO allays fear over malware issue in W2

Chinese mobile manufacturer, TECNO, has allayed the fears of its device users, saying it has fixed the security problem found on one of its smartphone models, W2.

TECNO allays fear over malware issue in W2

A security firm, Secure-D, had reported that most Tecno W2 smartphones in Africa are infected with xHelper, a pre-installed malware signing mobile users up to subscription services without their permission.

“Secure-D caught and blocked an unusually large number of transactions coming from Transsion Tecno W2 handsets mainly in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, and South Africa, with some fraudulent mobile transaction activity detected in another 14 countries.

“To date, a total of 19.2m suspicious transactions – which would have secretly signed users up to subscription services without their permission – have been recorded from over 200k unique devices.

Secure-D’s further investigation discovered components of the xHelper/Triada malware preinstalled on 53k Transsion’s Tecno W2 smartphones, a low-cost handset model typically bought by those on a lower income,” the report stated.

Head of Secure-D at Upstream, Geoffrey Cleaves, commented on the report saying: “This particular threat takes advantage of those most vulnerable. The fact that the malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently up against.”

However, Tecno in a statement made available to TechTrackAfrica, explained that back in March 2018, it “identified that the Triada issue affected only a version of W2 devices across all series of TECNO mobile phones. At the initial time of detecting the issue, we put together a security team to work on the solution. Consequently, we released the first official OTA fix to users on March 20th, 2018, with rigorous system tests and GMS tests set out by Google.

By April 30th, 2018, the official OTA fixes adapted for different versions of W2 devices were released, assuring that the problem was fixed once the consumer accepted the system update by installing the fix.

“For current W2 users facing Triada issue presently, we advise that they download the OTA fix on their phone for installation, or contact TECNO’s after-sales service support for assistance.

“At TECNO, we have always attached great importance to users’ data security and product safety. Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our security scan platform, Google Play Protect, GMS BTS, and VirusTotal test,” the company stated.

TECNO added that in addition, a 90-day security patch update is periodically delivered to its users to ensure that the security of our products and the protection of users’ devices from malware are not compromised.

“xHelper, which is similar to Triada, is a separate global mobile security issue that first appeared in 2019. We have deployed professional security tools such as GMS BTS and VirusTotal to detect the xHelper issue since last November. All of TECNO’s new releases and software maintenance for old products must go through the test. No reports of xHelper have ever been detected since then,” it said.

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