Thanks To A Backdoor, Hackers May Get Root Access To OnePlus Phones

Todd Singleton
November 15, 2017

The app, called EngineerMode, is not normally seen unless you ask to see the device's system apps.

OnePlus has still to fully recover from the data collection allegations it faced last month, and now fresh allegations have surfaced over user privacy.

The app and the subsequent backdoor access was discovered by Twitter user Elliott Alderson (a reference to the Mr. Robot character), who then went into a lot of detail about how to gain root access to the device. According to Alderson, the app is installed on some of the OnePlus devices. A developer has found an application that can be manipulated into to granting a backdoor root access.

The Engineer Mode APK is capable of diagnosing Global Positioning System, run automated tests, check root status among other things. Hopefully, that ends with an update that removes the app. "So it's not risky, it just means anybody with the password can plug your phone to a computer and take all your data".

OnePlus, an electronics manufacturer based in China, has reportedly been shipping its line of popular smartphones with a hidden backdoor that could allow a hacker to hijack the device relatively effortlessly.

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The application in question is EngineerMode, in which its goal is to test Qualcomm processors easily.

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has acknowledged the issue, and insisted that the company is looking into it. "Thanks for the heads up, we're looking into it", Pei said on Twitter.

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Security researcher Robert Baptiste says the EngineerMode APK is made by Qualcomm and is meant to be used by factory staff to test phones for basic functionality before they are shipped out to the public. He discovered that his OnePlus 2 device was sending data to an HTTPS domain, which was transmitted to Amazon Web Services and belongs to OnePlus ( domain).

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