China is installing spyware on tourists' phones2019-07-03 17:51 by Daniela
China has been secretly installing a surveillance app on tourists' phones as they enter the northwestern Xinjiang region.
At the border to China, agents collected smartphones from tourists entering the country from Kyrgyzstan, installed malware, and returned said phones to their owners. The malware went by the name BXAQ or Fengcai, and it is apparently still being installed on phones today. The malware takes the form of an app called CellHunter or MobileHunter, and is relatively easy to remove – or so it would seem.
Once installed, the spyware scrapes calendar entries, text messages, phone contacts, and call logs, sending all the data to a remote server. The spyware also scans for more than 73,000 files primarily relating to Islamic extremist groups but also sections of the Quran, portions of an Arabic dictionary and even any photos of the Dali Lama. Bizarrely, the spyware also scans for a song by Japanese band Unholy Grace that refers to Taiwan.
While it is unclear where all extracted information goes and for how long it is stored, it is part of the heavy surveillance regime in the Xinjiang region.
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