Smartphones and tablets suffered compromise from malicious apps before they ended up sold.
David Jevans, founder and CTO of Marble Security, discovered the problem after a potential customer complained the company’s mobile security management platform detected Netflix apps on several of its employees’ devices as malicious.
The malware appeared installed in devices manufactured by Samsung, Motorola, Asus and LG Electronics.
As it turned out, they were malicious, and were harvesting passwords and financial information and sending it to a server in Russia. The company said the apps came installed on the devices when they bought them,” Jevans said in a published report.
This incident then led him to investigate further and he found instances of fake and malicious Netflix apps, many of which ended up pre-installed before the devices sold.
Among the compromised devices were popular Samsung Galaxy Note phones and tablets, Galaxy 3 and 4 phones, Asus tablets, LG’s Nexus S phone, and several Motorola’s Droid phones.
When contacted, Samsung confirmed that Samsung or U.S. carrier partners don’t install a Netflix app on the devices before selling them. The other companies are yet to comment on the findings.
Jevans didn’t share the identity of the companies that sold the affected devices to their customers, but chances are they are either unknowingly pre-installing the phones and tablets with an application bundle that was not checked for malware, or are selling refurbished phones that already contain them.