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I am planning to buy a chinese smartphone. However, I've read that some come with extensive spyware straight from the factory.

Will I be able to detect such malware (Android.Trojan.Uupay.D and the likes) using any (free) android antivirus ? Is it really impossible to remove them (GData says so) ?

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    You might be able to detect such malware. But as it comes pre-installed with system apps, it's unlikely you will be able to remove it. And even if you were: would you trust to have eliminated all malware that might have shipped with the device? I'd rather not, and decide for a different one. – Izzy Sep 7 '15 at 8:56
  • Why Chinese? Check this and this. – daltonfury42 Sep 7 '15 at 9:51
  • Probably useful: android.stackexchange.com/questions/120541/… – Andrew T. Sep 7 '15 at 9:52
  • @AndrewT. How do you detect it in the first place? – daltonfury42 Sep 7 '15 at 9:54
  • @daltonfury42 fair enough. I didn't even think that a malware can be embedded on the core OS, which might be impossible to detect & remove unless flashing custom ROM. – Andrew T. Sep 7 '15 at 9:59
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Will I be able to detect such malware (Android.Trojan.Uupay.D and the likes) using any (free) android antivirus ?

No, if it was detectable by a free or even paid antivirus, the company wont ship the device with the malware, as it will bring down sales drastically. They have a reputation to maintain!

Is it really impossible to remove them (GData says so) ?

No.

If you want to be 100% sure that the device is clean, then you must remove the OS that came with it and flash a trusted(opensource) ROM like official CyanogenMod. So before buying the phone, check if you can get one. Here is a list of devices that support CyanogenMod.

If a official cyanogen or other ROMs are not available and you still want to buy the same device, an impractical advice to the average user would be to port/compile CyanogenMod or AOSP from source.

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I'm thinking on only one way. After receiving your device, root it! Why root? Well very simple. After rooting the device go to the location /system/app and remove any "bonus" application who you got on the cell phone. Plus, after that install some antivirus application to your device, I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security, and/or Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for malware ofc.

I'm using both of them on PC and my Android device, and I'm very pleased with their abilities.

  • As I wrote in my comment on the question itself: even if you were able to remove things (and yes, with root powers you are) – what makes you sure to have caught them all? An AntiVirus (oxymoron: what is it agains, if there is no virus?) gives you false assurance here, it cannot fully protect you. – Izzy Sep 7 '15 at 8:59
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    FIN, An antivirus cannot protect you in Android as much you're thinking. If the OEM decided to ship malware, what makes you think that their system update app (which has all the permissions in the world) or the android or the Linux kernel won't be sending any data at all. The doors are too many to close. I agree with @Izzy in this case. Either you shouldn't buy from a shady manufacturer, or you trust that the hardware isn't compromised and so, you flash a custom ROM which you're aware of that it is independently verified. In any case, your answer gives false sense of security. – Firelord Sep 7 '15 at 9:43
  • Agree with you :) – FiN Sep 7 '15 at 10:34

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