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Micromax Sneaking Apps Onto Devices Without User Consent

Pre-installed bloatware on Android smartphones is really a bane to many users, couple to that limited storage space for apps and you’ve really got yourself a rancid mix.
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Manufacturers however seem reluctant to move away from the practice, and in some cases could be going overboard by installing apps on devices without permissions. One such case has been reported by Reddit user redddc25, where apps such as newshunt, snapdeal and amazon.in are being installed automatically on a Micromax A093 Canvas Fire.
Further, redddc25 claims that once the apps have been uninstalled they reappear on the device. Apart from this, advertisements which appear as notifications pop up on the device, which link to online stores and other apps. Upon long pressing the notifications, the user says the app responsible for generating it SoftwareUpdate.
XDA Developers which followed up on the Reddit post dug a little deeper to find the the FWUpgrade.apk installed on the device is a third-party application, built by a Chinese company Adups and replaces the stock Google OTA service. They also found evidence that the application has the ability to issue installation commands from a shell, which would explain how the company can silently install apps.
The OTA check service in Micromax ROMs can not only download and flash system OTAs but also silently install apps. While that isn’t definitive proof that it’s what the company is doing, XDA also found references to a company website which provides (in their own words) App push service, Device Data Mining, Mobile Advertising services.
Micromax is most likely driving revenue through these forced app installs, and it’s highly unlikely that Adups is doing so without the company’s consent. The issue raises so many questions about user privacy and consent, and not to mention security risks that come with app installs where users don’t get to see the permissions.
hat tip: @1ndus

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