German security firm G Data warns they've discovered that the Star N9500 and possibly the Orient N9500 smartphones come preloaded with spyware. These Chinese smartphones are sold on Amazon, eBay and a variety of other websites. They run Android and ship with the Uupay.D spyware preloaded in the phone's firmware, making it hard to remove for the average user.
The spyware lets hackers remotely control your phone and transmits phone call, e-mail, text message and banking data to a server in China. It's also capable of remotely controlling the phone's camera and microphone.
According to a German security company G Data, the spyware, called Uupay.D, is capable of intercepting personal data transmitted over the phone, such as banking data, phone calls, email messages and text messages. It then transmits that data to a server in China. G Data said Uupay.D can also remotely control the phone's camera and microphone and covertly install more malware onto the device.
And if you were worried about accidentally deleting the spyware, don’t worry, Uupay.D is embedded in the smartphone’s firmware at the factory and can’t be uninstalled.
The smartphones are still on sale online and G Data's researchers suspect their low price and high-end specifications may be offset by the reselling of personal data stolen from unsuspecting users.
Here's a video demonstration of the N9500, the phone is marketed as a Galaxy S4 clone and features a 5" IPS screen with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and the MediaTek MTK6589 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It's currently still sold on Amazon via third-party sellers for $159.99.