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OnePlus preinstalls app that can be used as a backdoor
14 November 2017, 05:18 | Casey Mitchell
OnePlus comes under scanner over the issue of users’ privacy
OnePlus has recently accused of collecting a vast amount of sensitive private data from users' smartphones in the past and now, the company has been blamed for leaving a backdoor on its devices that is capable of granting root access. But Elliot Alderson found that the tool could be exploited by hackers to gain root access to a device, essentially gaining backdoor access into it where they could then take over the phone.
On the one hand, it does mean that it will be dead simple to root those three OnePlus phones without even having to unlock the bootloader.
The application is called "EngineerMode" and was developed by Qualcomm for factory testing.
The app's primary objective is to test the phones during manufacturing and make sure the device is working correctly, but the app isn't then wiped from the phone. OnePlus devices could be rooted on launching "DiagEnabled" activity in the APK with a specified password that was found by decompiling "libdoor.so" with the help of a few cyber-security experts.
The Engineer Mode APK is capable of diagnosing Global Positioning System, run automated tests, check root status among other things.
Getting root access to a smartphone allows a hacker to access "superuser" mode, making it extremely easy to inject malware with surveillance capabilities. That should be great news for those Android savvy users who want to root their devices.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has acknowledged the issue, and insisted that the company is looking into it. "Thanks for the heads up, we're looking into it", Pei said on Twitter. The developer claims that the company has left behind the software intentionally, and he will come out with the application for rooting OnePlus devices without unlocking.
Will it affect OnePlus 5T sales? Later, Pei confirmed in a blog post that OnePlus it will scale back on data collection on its devices. At the time, OnePlus stated that the whole goal of collecting data was to improve the service.
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