Gionee Found Guilty of Planting Malware on More Than 20 Million Smartphones For Profit

Gionee intentionally inflicted more than 20 million Gionee phones with Trojan Horse malware.

A court in China has found Gionee guilty for intentionally planting malware on its smartphones to gain unfair profits. The China Judgment Document Network published a verdict on the illegal control of computer information systems found to have been executed on Gionee phones. As per the court details, more than 20 million Gionee phones were intentionally inflicted with Trojan Horse malware. The malware was inflicted via an update between December 2018 and October 2019. Here’s what you need to know about the whole controversy revolving around Gionee.

Gionee found guilty of planting Trojan Horse Malware in Gionee phones

The Chinese court found out that Shenzhen Zhipu Technology Co. Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Gionee, had implanted a Trojan Horse malware through a software update for the ‘Story Lock Screen’ app. The software was automatically updated on the affected Gionee mobile phones without the user’s knowledge or permission using the Pull method. The court details reveal that the company used a particular app to make profit fro the users through unsolicited ads and other illegitimate means.

In December 2018, Wang Dengke proposed to implant the plug-in ‘Dark Horse Platform’ into apps such as ‘Story Lock Screen’ on Gionee phones. The company updated the app and its SDK version with Trojan plug-ins and then installed it in user’s phones through an update. The users installed and updated their app thinking it as a normal update and the company was able to update the ‘Living Trojan Horse’ without the user’s knowledge, which improved the efficiency of the Pull job.

As per the court, Beijing Baice Company and Shenzhen Zhipu Technology executed the ‘pull activities’ a total of 2.88 billion times. It is believed that from April 2019, the monthly pull activity surpassed more than 21.75 million. With this, both the companies are estimated to have earned around CNY 27.85 million from this method, while the expenses for that period are just a little CNY 8.425 million.

The court held Shenzhen Zhipu Technology guilty of illegally controlling the computer information system. The court found three persons namely Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi guilty for illegally controlling computer information system and were sentenced to three to three years and six months of jail terms. Furthermore, the guilty have been fined of CNY 200,000 as well.

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Rohan has more 9 years of experience in journalism, of which he's sent 5 years covering technology. He holds a degree in journalism and is obsessed about smartphones. In his free time, you will find him playing games, clicking photos or trying out new street food.