Over 20 Million Gionee phones were planted with malware to make money, Chinese court finds

Gionee company

The Chinese court has published a verdict on the illegal control of computer information systems in Gionee smartphones. The court finds that Gionee planted Trojan Horse malware on more than 20 million of its smartphones to make money from unsolicited ads and other malicious activities without the user’s knowledge/permission.

The court found that Beijing Baice Technology Co., Ltd. cooperated with the defendant Shenzhen Zhipu Technology Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of Gionee) to implant Trojan horse into user’s phone through the update of Gionee mobile phone “Story Lock Screen” software version without the user’s knowledge.

This illegal malware implanting activity done by Gionee was started in December 2018 and carried out until October 2019. In this period, more than 21.75 million Gionee smartphones got infected with the malware and the company is said to have earned about RMB 27.85 million (about $4.2 million). The estimated expenses carried out by the companies is 8.425 million yuan (~ $1.3 million).

The defendant Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi were found guilty of illegally controlling the computer information system and were sentenced from 3 to 3.5 years of jail term, and each of them was fined 200,000 yuan (~ $30,000). In the past, some other companies which include Infinix and Tecno were also found guilty of carrying out the same malicious activity.

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