Amazon Halts Sales of BLU Smartphones Over Privacy & Security Issues

Amazon Halts Sales of BLU Smartphones Over Privacy & Security Issues

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Back in November of last year we reported on an issue concerning a BLU smartphone that had a controversial piece of software on them known as Adups. The original report came from KryptoWire who pointed out that the BLU R1 HD that was being sold by Amazon had this invasive software pre-installed on the devices. This software is from Shanghai Adups Technology Co. Ltd. and is said to be installed on over 700 million devices worldwide.

For those unaware, Adups is very similar to a well known piece of software in the United States called CarrierIQ. CarrierIQ was advertised as a mobile diagnostic software suite, but recorded a ton of information about a person’s smartphone. The list included capabilities such as SMS recordings, SMS transmission, IMSI, IMEI exfiltration, call log transmission, command injections and more. Adups’ software suite does all of that and more.

adups

Source: KryptoWire

At the time, BLU released a statement saying Adups wasn’t supposed to be included in smartphones that were shipped in the United States. The company said they had a 3rd-party handling OTA updates and they simply “made a mistake”. They assured us that a new OTA update was pushed out that disabled this software so no more information could be transmitted back to servers in China. Many had thought the issue was over and done with, but 9 months later and Amazon has decided to step in.

While Amazon had been selling the BLU R1 HD as part of the company’s Prime Exclusive smartphone collection, but the retailer was also selling a number of other smartphones from BLU. We’re unsure if this Adups software is the reason why Amazon decided to halt sales of BLU’s smartphones, but the company did say “security and privacy of our customers is of the utmost importance” and that BLU’s phones would be unavailable from Amazon.com until the issue is resolved.

If it is indeed because of Adups, then it’s curious as to why it took Amazon 9 months to finally do something. BLU says they are in a process to review so they can get their devices reinstated on the Amazon website.

Source: CNET