China Is Forcing Tourists to Install Text-Stealing Malware at Its Border

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard:

Foreigners crossing certain Chinese borders into the Xinjiang region, where authorities are conducting a massive campaign of surveillance and oppression against the local Muslim population, are being forced to install a piece of malware on their phones that gives all of their text messages as well as other pieces of data to the authorities, a collaboration by Motherboard, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Guardian, The New York Times, and the German public broadcaster NDR has found.

The Android malware, which is installed by a border guard when they physically seize the phone, also scans the tourist or traveller’s device for a specific set of files, according to multiple expert analyses of the software.

On the one hand, I think, well, what do you expect going into China? On the other, who goes anywhere without their phone? And on the gripping hand, what happens if you have an iPhone?

Tuesday, 2 July 2019