In a huge setback to the Chinese tech-firm Gionee, a Chinese court has found that the Smartphone manufacturers had intentionally infected 20 million phones with malware from December 2018 to October 2019. According to the China Judgment Document Network report, the application was reportedly being used as a means to display unsolicited ads without the permission of the user. The report says that the Trojan app was installed on the affected Gionee phones via OTA update of the Story Lock Screen app. A plug-in named “Dark Horse Platform” was installed on the app.
The report claims that the Shenzhen Zhipu (a subsidiary of Gionee) and Beijing Baice carried out the “pull activities” a total of 2.88 billion times. In less than a year Gionee had infected 21.75 million smartphones. Shenzhen Zhipu and Beijing Baice are estimated to have made $4.2 million (Approx. Rs 31,46,80,729) from the fraud. The court has found Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang and Pan Qi were found guilty in the process of illegally controlling mobile devices and are sentenced from 3 to 3.5 years in prison along with a CNY 200,000 (Rs 22,57,000) fine each.
This Gionee episode rather exposes the vulnerability of using Chinese Smartphone. Due to their suspicious behaviour, Huawei was banned in the U.S. There have been multiple reports of the Chinese administration using Chinese Smartphone manufacturers to steal the information of users. All such technical firms are said to have to maintain close ties with the Chinese Communist Party. Gionee’s fraud is just the tip of an iceberg; many of such tricks employed by the Chinese technological brands are yet to come out in public domain.