According to court details, more than 20 million Gionee phones between December 2018 and October 2019 contained malware via the Story Lock Screen app.
And the Story Lock Screen app – which is automatically updated via affected Gionee phones without the user’s knowledge through the checkout process – has become a tool for users to monetize through unwanted ads and other illegal means.
The court found that Baice Technology had colluded with the defendant Zhipu Technology, a subsidiary of Gionee, in order to implant malware into the phones.
Given the inefficiency of the current draw method, the Dark Horse quick update plugin was proposed to be installed in apps such as Story Lock Screen in December 2018.
The app was upgraded with plug-ins for malware, and then Dark Horse was used to install and update malware without the user’s knowledge, thus improving the efficiency of the draw task, and the suggestion was implemented later that month.
Court details revealed that Baice Technology and Zhipu Technology carried out From December 2018 to October 2019 withdrawal activities totaled 2.88 billion times.
As of April 2019, the number of devices covered by the monthly draw activity has reached more than 21.75 million.
In terms of revenue, Baice Technology is estimated to have earned $ 4.2 million from withdrawals, while its expenses are less than $ 1.3 million.
The court ruled that defendant Zhipu Technology had committed the crime of illegally controlling mobile devices.
The court also found defendants (Xu Li), (Zhu Ying), (Zhu Ying), (Jia Zhengqiang) and (Pan Qi) Pan Qi guilty of illegally controlling mobile devices.
They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 3.5 years, in addition to a fine of about $ 30,000 each.
Industrial and commercial filings show that Gionee owns 85 percent of Shenzhen Zhipu, whose scope of work includes software technology development, advertising business, and the use of information networks to run game products.
It is reported that this practice has become common in cheap Chinese phones, according to a report published in August of this year, which discovered the presence of malware in Infinix and Tecno phones that can steal users’ money.