A Chinese court has charged Gionee for intentionally installing malware on its smartphones. According to a report by China Judgment Document Network, between December 2018 and October 2019, Gionee was found to be infecting over 20 million smartphones with Trojan Horse via an app. Reportedly, the app was being used as a tool to profit from users via unsolicited ads and other illegal means. As per the report, the app was automatically installed on Gioness users’ phones without their consent.
The report claims that a Trojan horse program was implanted onto users’ phones by updating the Story Lock Screen app. A plug-in called “Dark Horse Platform” was installed on the app.
We have reached out to Gionee to learn more about the case and confirm if users in India have been affected by the same. We are awaiting the company’s response.
The court apparently revealed that in nine months, Shenzhen Zhipu (a subsidiary of Gionee) and Beijing Baice carried out the “pull activities” a total of 2.88 billion times. As per the reports, starting April 2019, the number of devices infected surpassed 21.75 million, out of which 26,519,921 Gionee mobile phones were involved in October 2019 alone.
Shenzhen Zhipu and Beijing Baice are estimated to have earned RMB 27.85 million from this.
The Chinese court found Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi guilty. While Xu Li, Zhu Ying, and Jia Zhengqiang have been sentenced to three years, Pan Qi has been sent to prison for six months. All of them have also been fined CNY 200,000 (roughly Rs 22,57,000).