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EE sold me a phone with spying/rootkit installed


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Hello everyone,

 

 

I have been reading up on this forum for few years

never had the chance to post or thank for the great help with appealing my car penalty notices so thank you to all.

 

My today's question:

 

I recently upgraded my phone with EE and

after hearing from my friend I checked my phone to find a software called 'computrace agent'

which potentially can be used to spy, send text messages or even disable my phone.

 

 

According to EE this is to protect them and me from fraud but they never said this to me before?

If I want to protect my phone I can choose to install something or disable it

but this is permanent and all my information is sent to a third party without my consent.

 

If I was to trace my phone by law the company tracing is required to send a message once in a while to inform me

so how is EE allowed to install this software without even telling me about the dangers?

 

 

At least NSA is a government agency and I don't trust them to spy on me why should I trust a third party partner of EE?

 

Is this even legal? Can I cancel my contract with EE if they can't replace my phone without this software?

 

I've been with EE for nearly three years and I upgraded 4 months ago.

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Um, isn't this ee's security software that finds your phone if its lost or bricks your phone if its stolen???

 

If they didn't have this, we would only moan they are not doing enough for our security.

 

Personally, I have this sort of software and after reading up on it,

 

 

I'm happy I have it.

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Are you not able to remove the software?

You could potentially root and flash a stock Samsung firmware on without any of the EE stuff, however this would most likely invalidate the warranty.

 

Does it say anywhere in the actual contract that EE will install this software on the phone?

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No, it's not possible to remove it. I tried rooting the phone, changing firmware I even tried deleting the folder using adb.

 

EE mention the product remains there property and I can't sell in the first 6 months. Even if this was enforceable the software would remain in my phone? I don't trust EE to have a software in my phone which can potentially be used for more than advertised. The software is capable of doing more than just finding my phone.

 

Anyone thinking this is a good thing sorry to say but since when EE become bothered about customer losing there phone unless you have insurance. Would I want to give up my rights and privacy to protect a device? I am not.

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Well.... The application is installed when a new setup of the phone is done as its stored inside the memory chip. Rooting should technically allow you to get rid of it... However i think you might be doing it all wrong.

Are you using Titanium backup? I think you should try it because it WILL Remove the app :)

 

Failing that flash a custom recovery, install a custom rom and it WILL be removed for sure :)

 

We could do with some help from you.

 

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

**Fko-Filee**

Receptaculum Ignis

 

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If memory serves me right, EE, along with the others worked with the government to make it harder to sell on stolen phones so once a phone is notified to them as being lost/stolen, they can brick it.

 

Have they actually said they WILL use the software to track your position? Don't forget, they can track your phone in other ways. (GPS, triangulation using phone masts)

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Well.... The application is installed when a new setup of the phone is done as its stored inside the memory chip. Rooting should technically allow you to get rid of it... However i think you might be doing it all wrong.

Are you using Titanium backup? I think you should try it because it WILL Remove the app :)

 

Failing that flash a custom recovery, install a custom rom and it WILL be removed for sure :)

 

None of that works. It reinstalls itself again soon as I connect to the Internet.

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If memory serves me right, EE, along with the others worked with the government to make it harder to sell on stolen phones so once a phone is notified to them as being lost/stolen, they can brick it.

 

Have they actually said they WILL use the software to track your position? Don't forget, they can track your phone in other ways. (GPS, triangulation using phone masts)

 

They can brick it anyway by blocking the phone. If I want to find my phone I would use "find my phone" which I control why would I want a app I have no access to or control over? This app can be used for more than just tracking or disabling the phone. This whole recovery is a lie and why would they need to protect against fraud installing a app in my phone which is a upgrade. Surely, I've been with EE for long enough to be considered genuine customer not a fraud. What happened to not guilty until proven guilty?

 

EE wouldn't even accept they installed this app.

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Interesting reply from EE representative:

 

"Just to clarify, this new app has been installed on some Android phones to help EE tackle fraud. That means that if someone steals your identity to buy a phone from us, we can remotely disable that phone so that it can’t be used by fraudsters.*

 

*

 

As we only ever need to use the app if fraud has happened, it will have no impact on genuine customers at all. So that the app can effectively fight fraud, however, it can’t be removed. We’re afraid that the mention of 'location data'*in the app description*could be confusing. EE is absolutely not tracking the location of its genuine customers' phones using this app."

 

I'm supposed to trust EE and a third party company not to misuse a app they fail to notify me about. If they can't trust customers to be genuine why should we trust them not to misuse it? *

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Problem with Samsung phones and flashing a custom Rom is you will break Knox security and invalidate your warranty.

A Custom Rom would solve this for you though.

 

Alternatively have you thought about moving from EE, Call them ask for PAC code and when they ask explain why, Say you

will stay with them but you will require a new phone without the spyware.

The worst they can do is trash your credit file, Get a letter of complaint in to the CEO expressing your problem and what you want

them to do then if they try any legal action like court you have it all documented.

 

George

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This is why I have a problem. They installed a spyware on my phone without my consent and I now risk thrashing my perfect credit history.

 

I am not willing to wait for them to take me to court because they wouldn't bother knowing they risk more people using this to cancel contracts. Surely this is against basic human rights law, they can't monitor my phone this way. This software would remain in my phone indefinitely.

 

I am surprised how people are for falling for this surveillance device as a good thing. EE couldn't care what happened to my devices if I didn't take out insurance and here they are paying subscription? Seriously?

 

This app has been known to send messages, send location and other information to an unknown server and Absolute even had to settle (cleverly avoided court proceedings) for switching someone's laptop camera. Why should I risk this in my phone?

 

All the suggestion about removing rooting the phone. It doesn't work, I've tried. It reinstalls right away and even if you manage it they can remotely install it again.

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I'm sorry, but the larger percentage of the population don't have tin foil hats as big as yours and WANTED the extra security to deter robbers and thieves from stealing phones. This software is not active, but is passive software activated in the event of a theft or loss so as to render the phone useless for ever. Its why mobile thefts are on the decline.

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XDA Devs is full of topics on this. Let me see if I can find something else :)

 

http://forum.xda-developers.com/note-4/help/remove-computrace-reinstalling-t2929102

 

have you tried using Odin to flash a non EE rom?

As for the non technical side... you WILL NOT get a phone with this removed from EE...

Glad I didnt go with them! :)

 

Try flashing a custom rom and restoring to stock at a later date. Samsung are normally pretty good with Warranty stuff if you restore it to stock.

Or instead of removing it, use the app manage to disable / freeze it...

 

We could do with some help from you.

 

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

**Fko-Filee**

Receptaculum Ignis

 

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I'm sorry, but the larger percentage of the population don't have tin foil hats as big as yours and WANTED the extra security to deter robbers and thieves from stealing phones. This software is not active, but is passive software activated in the event of a theft or loss so as to render the phone useless for ever. Its why mobile thefts are on the decline.

 

Who decides for the larger population? Surely, if the larger population want this then ask and give a choice. It is enforced and like myself the larger population are unaware about this software.

 

If I knew about this I would choose to protect my privacy over a phone. My girlfriend is unhappy about this so is most of the people I discussed but luckily they don't have it because they either have a iPhone or purchased from non ee store.

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And if your phone was stolen, you would be on here ripping into ee for not stopping access and bricking your phone quick enough. If you are not happy, buy another phone. Looking on ee terms and conditions, it does say that their range dies come with this software, so did you not bother to research and just saw something shiny and bought it?

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Please keep this thread civil.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

Please help CAG. Order this ebook. Now available on Amazon. Please click HERE

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I have to say that this thread was the first I'd heard of EE doing this, there seems to have been little to no publicity about this. It's the kind of thing that I'd honestly have expected news outlets to jump on and cry privacy invasion, especially in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

 

If it were such a good thing, I'd have expected EE to be showing endless adverts parading around how much they take care of their customers.

 

 

Basically the only way to remove it is to install a custom (non-EE) ROM. Either flash the device to overwrite the existing ROM entirely, or just flash the ROM and uninstall the app.

Apparently the software does have issues with draining battery faster and if you have anti-virus installed then it can end up checking computrace on a very regular basis, causing general performance slowdown.

 

Several people over on XDA have also reported on the software attempting to send SMS messages containing encrypted information to a T-Mobile registered number in the USA.

 

 

There's also some confusion as to whether this app is from EE or Samsung, though I've only seen reports of it on Samsung handsets so far.

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And if your phone was stolen, you would be on here ripping into ee for not stopping access and bricking your phone quick enough. If you are not happy, buy another phone. Looking on ee terms and conditions, it does say that their range dies come with this software, so did you not bother to research and just saw something shiny and bought it?

 

I'm not sure if you are reading my posts because if you did I wouldn't need to repeat myself. I would happily change my phone if EE decide to take this phone back and cancel my contract which they wouldn't unless I paid off my entire remaining monthly charge. And no, they did not mention anything about software or it's capabilities.

 

Anyone using a phone knows well that EE is not responsible for lost phones and if my phone was lost I'll contact my insurance not EE. EE could block the phone like all other networks this has nothing to do with this phone. My phone has 'find my phone' with tracking capabilities should I need it. This software is useless for me because it's to protect EE from from fraud well that's what they like me to believe.

 

If they are concerned about stolen phones then all they need is a kill switch not a software with surveillance capabilities!

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The software is a kill switch.

 

It's much more than just that.

 

“The software is extremely flexible. It’s a tiny piece of code which is a part of the BIOS. As far as it is a piece of the BIOS, it is not very easy to update the software as often. So they made it very extensible. It can do nearly anything. It can run every type of code. You can do to the system whatever you want. Considering that the software is running on these local system privileges, you have full access to the machine. You can wipe the machine, you can monitor it, you can look through the webcam, you can actually copy any files, you can start new processes. You can do absolutely anything.” -

 

https://threatpost.com/millions-of-pcs-affected-by-mysterious-computrace-backdoor-2/107700

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Anyway, my intention to start this topic was to know if this is legal and if there is anything I could do force EE to exchange my device without this software.

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