Lithuania finds cybersecurity risks in Xiaomi and Huawei 5G smartphones

A person checks out the new Xiaomi Mi 9 mobile phone ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC 19) in Barcelona, Spain   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Some Xiaomi and Huawei 5G smartphones pose cybersecurity risks, according to Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense.

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Researchers at the country's cybersecurity centre found Xiaomi phones to censor content downloaded on it. The phone's Mi browser receives a manufacturer's blocked keyword list. When it detects that the content users want to send contains words from the list, the device blocks that content.

At the time of the study, the list included 449 keywords or groups of keywords in Chinese characters, like "Free Tibet," "Voice of America," "Democratic Movement," "Longing Taiwan Independence".

Researchers identified that the content filtering function was disabled on Xiaomi phones sold in Lithuania. The device could activate this filtering function remotely without the user's knowledge and start analysing the downloaded content.

Also Read | Pegasus | How to find out if your phone was infected with the spyware

Xiaomi's Mi Browser was also detected to collect and send data about users' activity on the phone to servers in third countries.

The security body did not provide any details on risks associated with other browsers in Xiaomi an Huawei handsets.

“The fact that this rich statistical information is sent and stored in an encrypted channel on Xiaomi servers in third countries where the General Data Protection Regulation does not apply is also a risk, ” Tautvydas Bakšys, head of Innovation and Training Division of the National Cyber Security Centre, said in a statement.

Also Read | Shutting the door on Huawei

Investigating Huawei's 5G smartphones, researchers found that the device's official app store, which does not find a user-requested gadget, automatically redirects users to third-party stores infected with viruses.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 5:27:58 PM |

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