US-based smartphone manufacturer BLU recently discovered that one of their software partners – a China-based one – was doing something tantamount to invasion of privacy. The firmware updating app on some BLU smartphones were from Shanghai Adups Technology Co., and it was discovered that they were stealing SMS data from users. Now BLU has learned their lesson, and switched to a Google app for this particular feature.

BLU has become popular because it is able to sell entry level phones at ridiculously low prices – like the BLU R1 HD priced at USD$50. But recently, security firm Kryptowire found out that the firmware updater on some of BLU’s phones were sending contents of text messages to a server in China. “We have an email history with Adups saying we did not want that functionality on our devices, and they violated our request,” Blu CEO Sammy Ohev-Zion said. Basically, the Chinese company pulled a fast one on them and the app went rogue.


To counter this, BLU is now rolling out an update to prevent the Adups software from sending details to the server. In addition, they signed a contract with Kryptowire to have the firm monitor their phones for the next year to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Lastly, BLU is swapping out Adups’s update utility with one made by Google.

“Any new model that launches from December onwards will have Google’s OTA application instead of Adups,” Ohev-Zion said. The owners have learned their lesson, and they have pledged not to install third-party applications where they “don’t have the source code and don’t understand the behavior”.