A smartphone called the Star N9500 comes pre-loaded with spyware that could enable an attacker to steal personal data, place rogue phone calls, or turn on the user's camera and microphone remotely, according to researchers in Germany.
In a report published Tuesday, researchers at German security firm G Data Software told the Associated Press that they have discovered the spyware deep in the proprietary software of the N9500, which can be purchased on the Internet. G Data spokesman Thorsten Urbanski told AP that his team spent a week trying to discover the manufacturer of the device without success, but that it is made in China -- and stolen data collected by the spyware is sent to a server in China.
The AP also researched the phone and found it for sale on several major retail websites and offered by several companies based in Shenzen, China. The AP was also unable to discover the device's manufacturer.
"The manufacturer is not mentioned," Urbanski told AP. "Not in the phone, not in the documentation, nothing else."
EBay Wednesday began blocking the sale of the Star N9500, according to a report by the BBC. The device is still available on Amazon, the BBC said.