Cheap Android Phones are Stealing Your Data!

Cheap Android phones are good for your budget but they can become a problem for your business. This post will explain how cheap brands are stealing the data from your phones.

Have you ever considered buying cheap Android phones for your business? Meeting your budget is important but so is your data. And cheap Android phones might not be as good as you think.

Business data is important and it has changed dramatically over the last few years with the arrival of the Android phone. On a mobile Android phone, the world of business is not only critical to secure and keep your data private. It also needs to understand what your Android phones are capable of bleating out in terms of the data they can give away.

We’ve recently seen a few stories about cheap Android phones and some not so cheap phone brands that are clearly over-stepping the mark when it comes to stealing your data and sending it back to China.

This blog hopes to allay your fears but also tries to underline what the problem is so you can better understand your mobile phone IT needs.

What is the Issue?

It’s been in the general news recently, that there have been cases of cheap Chinese Android phones sending back data to China. This data has been apparently used to help the Chinese government understand Western consumers better so that it can help its own companies push Chinese brands in the West more successfully.

Brands like Blu, or Doogee,  among others, have done this by installing apps into their OS’s that are hidden and cannot be removed by the user.

How Bad is the Problem?

So far, there are more than a few hundred thousand cases reported. But more brands are being found out every week now. Add to this that the issue is exasperated by users downloading and using rogue apps that then use the installed apps to gain permission for all kinds of data access.  The problem is that data being sent back from a business or enterprise level Android phone could even put your business at risk of breaking the data protection act.

The stolen data has been shown to be anything from location information of the device to contacts information. In some cases even emails and texts. Through the silently running “rogue” apps installed on these devices, other apps that don’t need explicit permissions to take this kind of data can be written.

What do I need to do to make sure I don’t fall foul of these devices?

It’s very simple. Firstly you don’t need to spend £1000 on your device like in the good old days. There are many brands and many ways you can check.  All Raptor devices have been tested, had their OS’s re-written and customised. We also make sure they have no apps or malware installed that we don’t understand exactly what is doing.

To help you, here are the 3 questions you need to ask your supplier:

  1. Ask them where the OS came from and who wrote it.  This is the case in almost all of the cheaper Android phones you can buy.  If it has any sign of Chinese OS on it, then the chances are it is not going to be a good sign for you.
  2. Ask them if they know of any rogue apps that may exist on the devices.
  3. Go and see it for yourself.  You can simply see many apps by looking in the App section of the settings on any Android phone.  You’d be surprised to see all kinds of apps with permissions that don’t quite add up.

Other tips

We have written a deep dive article on buying cheap Android phones, that you should have a look at if you’re thinking about buying cheap Android phones. If you see any of the things mentioned in there then we’d always advise on walking away.

Remember: when it comes to your business, you have a duty of care to your workers and your customers’ data. Not to mention that if you breach this trust in any way then your business could fail.  So, take it seriously, it’s not just about the money.

Work with UK businesses with a phone, decent website and email whom can take responsibility for things like this. Try not to get your Android phones on eBay and also keep away from the cheap tat websites that are just flogging copies.

What might be a bargain today, might just end up being the very reason your business fails, so always remember to follow this advice.

Posted by "Durable" Dave

My background is web/mobile software, mobile hardware, where I worked with some of the earliest PDA's on the market from HP and Microsoft and data capture where i've sold all of the main brands of rugged kit you'll find!

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