If You Bought a Used Android You Could Be Being Tracked!
I believe this information should be out there for all Android users and i dont recall seeing it anywhere but i hang out here right now and thought i would share what i discovered on accident.
i reference a RAZR M here but INSERT any Android phone as far as i can tell.
***please Devs and such i am not one so ignore my possible misuse of how exactly it operates but i just wanted to share the point of this not how the Android OS operates
i had a RAZR M with ROOT and installed Avast Mobile Security (i believe many others would do this as well) and since i was root i installed it as a /System app. this as some of you may not know makes it kinda part of the OS now. this means that a Factory Reset does not remove it but instead installs it again. i will explain how i discovered this:
- had a RAZR M as mentioned and i installed Avast as /System
- you can rename the app itself to whatever you want like "fletch33" and so anyone who finds your phone wouldnt know it was a security app and try to uninstall it. this is a great feature so i renamed it.
- this will do the standard stuff like locate your device, wipe it, make it beep, etc....
- i decided to give the phone to someone else and they wouldnt want root items or anything so i did a factory reset forgetting i had installed Avast as /System so they would have a clean start with the M
- since Avast was /System it became part of the Factory Reset process and so a what i thought was a clean fresh phone actually still had Avast on it but now since it was fresh and clean there were no signs like an app to remind me i had installed it as root. i honestly forgot it was on there.
- i had selected to get notifications of where the phone is if it traveled a distance but could see it whenever i wanted with a browser login to website and although i had reset it that STILL WORKS! i am getting emails when it moves and can login and see it.
- there are no visible signs that this is on the M (insert any phone)
- in my knowledge the only way the tracking etc... would stop is if i were to ODIN or SBF or whatever the equivalent is on that particular device or i would have to re-install Avast and it would then allow me to put in my passcode and then i could uninstall it.
the moral of the story is that any used phone could have had this done and if not by accident like mine but on purpose for whatever reason.
fortunately i gave the M to a family member and i will fix it for him but it really made me think what it could be used for ....
if this has been mentioned or i am incorrect i apologize in advance but when i started getting emails about where the phone i gave away was located all the time from Avast after a Factory Reset i decided i should share this so that others might take precautions with their second hand Android device.