The Defense Ministry of Lithuania, a small country in Europe, advised consumers to get rid of their smartphones produced by certain Chinese companies over security and censorship concerns, a Wednesday report shows.
The Ministry’s cybersecurity body found that the Mi 10T 5G model of mobile phones made by China’s Xiaomi Corp has built-in tools censoring phrases, like “democracy movement,” “Free Tibet” or “Long live Taiwan independence,” Reuters reported.
A total of over 449 terms and phrases were on the software’s censorship list, BBC reported. (RELATED: China Creates Hotline For Residents To Report Anyone Who Criticizes Its ‘Advanced Socialist Culture’ Online)
Although the function was turned off on gadgets intended for the European market, the companies could still remotely re-activate the phones’ censorship ability, Defence Ministry’s National Cyber Security Centre warned, according to Reuters.
Lithuania’s Defense Ministry recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities https://t.co/2OS4hvmqcO pic.twitter.com/SoZ39tz5ha
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 22, 2021
“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” Lithuania’s Deputy Minister of Defense Margiris Abukevicius said at a press conference on the report, according to Reuters.
Additionally, the report indicated a security flaw in Huawei’s P40 5G phone that made users susceptible to cybersecurity breaches.
“The official Huawei application store AppGallery directs users to third-party e-stores where some of the applications have been assessed by anti-virus programs as malicious or infected with viruses,” the cybersecurity body said.