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Preinstalled apps are a problem with even major brands, with security tools, managers embedded with spyware etc.

Preinstalled Android apps could contain a selection of 146 vulnerabilities

"https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3083826/preinstalled-android-apps-could-contain-a-selection-of-146-vulnerabilities"
Good that MBA spotted the abuse and brought to light.. 

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It was a bit odd that BBC reported in the UK what is an issue with a US government scheme.

But anything that raises awareness of pre-loaded malware is a good thing.

The only problem is if UK readers get to thinking "It's the US, it wouldn't happen here" because of course it does.

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Yep, I remember when people used to say it was just paranoia when some users and members of the IT community would wonder about the possibility of pre-infected hardware devices, that is until the first incidents of flash drives, hard drives and SSDs with hidden malware from the factory started appearing; usually rootkits that could even survive a format of the drives.  Now people are more careful about calling such possibilities 'conspiracy theories'.  The mobile space is even worse it seems.  That likely has to do with the fact that it's such an easy way to get surveillance on your targets, and also likely due to the fact that mobile devices can be more difficult to infect in the wild compared to PCs, so pre-infecting them before they get to the end user is a sound strategy.

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