The China Court of Judgment Documentation Network has published a verdict in a case involving Chinese phone maker Gionee and malware discovered in its phones.
According to court details, more than 20 million Gionee phones between December 2018 and October 2019 contained malware via the Story Lock Screen app.
And the Story Lock Screen app – which is automatically updated via affected Gionee phones without the user’s knowledge through the checkout process – has become a tool for users to monetize through unwanted ads and other illegal means.
The court found that Baice Technology had colluded with the defendant Zhipu Technology, a subsidiary of Gionee, to implant malware into the phones.
Given the current draw method’s inefficiency, the Dark Horse fast update plug-in was proposed to be installed in apps such as Story Lock Screen in December 2018.
The app was upgraded with plug-ins for malware. Then Dark Horse was used to install and update malware without the user’s knowledge, thus improving the drawing task’s efficiency, and the suggestion was implemented later that month.
Court details revealed that from December 2018 to October 2019, Baice Technology and Zhipu Technology carried out withdrawal activities a total of 2.88 billion times.
As of April 2019, the number of devices covered by the monthly draw activity is more than 21.75 million.
In terms of revenue, Baise Technology is estimated to have earned $ 4.2 million from withdrawals, while its expenses are less than $ 1.3 million.
The court ruled that defendant Zhipu Technology had committed the crime of illegally controlling mobile devices.
The court also found the defendants – (Xu Li) Xu Li, (Zhu Ying) Zhu Ying, (Jia Zhengqiang), and (Pan Qi) Pan Qi – guilty of illegally controlling mobile devices.
They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 3.5 years, in addition to a fine of about $ 30,000 each.
Industrial and commercial filings show that Gionee owns 85 percent of Shenzhen Zhipu, whose work scope includes software technology development, advertising business, and the use of information networks to run game products.
According to a report published in August of this year, this practice has become common in cheap Chinese phones, which discovered the presence of malware in Infinix and Tecno phones that can steal users’ money.