If something is too good to be true, it probably is. That’s a lesson many people are learning about Techno Android phones.
Techno phones have become extremely popular in Africa, where they have supplanted long-time favorites Samsung and Nokia. While the phone looks nice and has modern functionality, its biggest selling point is its price. Techno phone can be had for much less than competing brands.
According to an investigation by BuzzFeed News and Secure-D, the price was actually much higher. The investigation showed that preinstalled malware was stealing people’s data, interrupting chats and phone calls with popups, as well as secretly installing apps that subscribed people to services—in effect stealing their money.
What makes the whole debacle worse is the fact that the maker of Techno phones, Transsion, specifically targets some of the world’s poorest communities. Their business model has been so successful that, as BuzzFeed points out, they’re the fourth-largest phone maker in the world, behind Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
Transsion, of course, has denied wrongdoing, saying the issue originated with a supply chain vendor. They went on to tell BuzzFeed:
“We have always attached great importance to consumers’ data security and product safety. Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our own security scan platform, Google Play Protect, GMS BTS, and VirusTotal test.”
They failed to explain, however, how the malware made it on the phones if they have “a series of rigorous security checks.” Even if Transsion is telling the truth, their incompetence alone borders on criminal.