Avoiding malware on our smartphones and computers is pretty easy: just don’t install apps or visit suspicious sounding and looking websites. Granted this isn’t a guarantee that you can’t get infected, but usually practicing such habits can help. Unfortunately for owners of certain Alcatel handsets, their phones actually came with malware preinstalled.
This is according to a report from ZDNet who obtained a report published by a UK mobile security firm called Upstream, found that a weather app named “Weather Forecast-World Weather Accurate Radar” actually had malware in it, in which it subscribed owners of devices the app was installed on to premium phone numbers without their knowledge. What’s even more damning is the fact that the app seems to have been developed by TCL who actually makes the Alcatel phones.
Now to TCL’s credit, the app was not created with malicious intent and it seems that at some point in time, it managed to get compromised and infected with malware. Prior to that the app had actually been available via Google’s Play Store which means that Google’s own protection should have detected it, so like we said it is unclear at which point in time it managed to get infected.
It has since been theorized that it managed to get infected via a TCL developer who might have his/her system compromised. Google has since removed the app from the Play Store after being notified by Upstream, who also notified TCL.