Secret “back door” in some U.S. smart phones sent personal data to China.

Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 17 November 2016, 06:05 hrs, UTC, Post #27.

Accessed on 17 November 2016, 06:05 hrs, UTC.

Reporters:  Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times). (

According to the “New York Times”, Chinese software used in Android smart phones lets Chinese intelligence collectors monitor where you go, when you talk, and what your write in text messages.

Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt have more revelations:

“Kryptowire, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability, said the Adups software transmitted the full contents of text messages, contact lists, call logs, location information and other data to a Chinese server. The code comes preinstalled on phones and the surveillance is not disclosed to users, said Tom Karygiannis, a vice president of Kryptowire, which is based in Fairfax, Va. “Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t have known about it,” he said.

Security experts frequently discover vulnerabilities in consumer electronics, but this case is exceptional. It was not a bug. Rather, Adups intentionally designed the software to help a Chinese phone manufacturer monitor user behavior, according to a document that Adups provided to explain the problem to BLU executives. That version of the software was not intended for American phones, the company said.”

How the information gleaned from your Android smart phone is used by the Chinese software manuafacturer is unknown, but, considering that China has a special military unit focused on cyber warfare, it’s a pretty fair guess that your data provide interesting intelligence for Chinese military strategists.

Nowadays, many governments monitor all modes of communication, including the internet and your cell phone, so I suppose the latest revelation about Chinese activities in this area is to be expected.

About all you can do is change your smart phone and avoid discussing your private or business concerns over the phone.  Nothing is really private anymore. Privacy is essentially dead.

For the latest developments in geopolitical intelligence, espionage, strategic forecasting, terrorism, and cyber security, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today!

Until next time,

Russ Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest


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