The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense conducted a security audit of three popular models of smartphones made in China: OnePlus 8T 5G, Huawei P40 5G and Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G and found them censored.The researchers concluded that two of the three devices violate user privacy and have hidden censorship mechanisms.
Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius says that these devices were chosen for tests due to the fact that earlier “the international community identified them as posing certain risks in the field of cybersecurity.”
Researchers did not find anything suspicious about the OnePlus 8T 5G, but they had questions about the other two smartphones.
The report states that a secret censoring module has been discovered in the Xiaomi Mi 10T that can detect and censor 449 keywords or groups of keywords (using both Chinese characters and Latin characters). The list of censored topics includes Free Tibet, Voice of America, Democratic Movement, Long Live Taiwan Independence, and so on.
It is reported that this module is disabled in Lithuania and the EU, but Xiaomi can activate it at any time without the user’s knowledge.
In addition, Xiaomi smartphones have been noticed to send an encrypted SMS message to Xiaomi servers whenever the owner of the device decides to use the Xiaomi Cloud service.
After sending a message, it is hidden from the owner of the smartphone.
It was also found that the Xiaomi phone collects data about the device and its owner through the Mi Browser application (more than 60 parameters), and the collected information is transferred to the Google Analytics account and to Chinese servers.
As for the Huawei P40 5G model, according to the researchers, the phone often redirected users looking for various applications to malicious alternatives: if the application was not found in the official AppGallery, the user was redirected to other, less secure sites (APKMonk, APKPure, Aptoide, etc.).
Recall that we wrote that Information security experts suspect Chinese company Xiaomi of spying on users.
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