China-based smartphone maker, Gionee found guilty after the Chinese court has published a verdict on the illegal control of computer information systems. The smartphone maker found planting Trojan Horse on more than 20 million of their devices, without the users' knowledge.
The Shenzhen Zhipu Technology Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Gionee, were purposefully implanted the malware called "Dark Horse Program" via a software update of an app named “Story Lock Screen” between December 2018 and October 2019. The malware was used to make money by delivering targeted ads on users smartphone. Gionee acknowledges having earned around $4.2 million, just by infecting 21.75 million smartphones.
The court found guilty sentenced from 3 to 3.5 years in prison and fined CNY 200,000 (~$30,000) each to the defendant Xu Li, Zhu Ying, Jia Zhengqiang, and Pan Qi for illegally controlling mobile devices.
However, Smartphone makers like Infinix and Tecno were also seen also found guilty of the same malicious activity which can steal user’s money. Hereby reducing the smartphone overall cost by showing advertisement.