OnePlus accused of leaving a backdoor to give root access
15 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Darren Santiago
According to one developer named as Elliot Alderson, OnePlus has an application called as "EngineerMode", which is basically used to check whether the unit is working properly or not in the factory. But Elliot Alderson found that the tool could be exploited by hackers to gain root access to a device, essentially gaining backdoor access into it where they could then take over the phone. If it was overlooked, it is likely the upcoming 5T would have it also, which would necessitate removing the app before the device ships on November 16. They are able to gain root if they have a password to bypass privilege escalation checks.
A staff member from the OnePlus team explained in a forum post that EngineerMode is a diagnostic tool used for factory production line functionality testing and also for IT support as OnePlus customers call in for help.
We've seen several statements by community developers that are anxious because this apk grants root privileges.
Root implies to the highest degree of access to an Android operating system that is usually deployed to safeguard the privacy of the user. "So it's not unsafe, it just means anybody with the password can plug your phone to a computer and take all your data".
While it appears OnePlus is responsible for leaving Engineer Mode on its devices, it is not directly responsible for the application itself or the backdoor it creates. The application was present on several models of OnePlus devices including OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 5.
OnePlus' co-founder clarified that the company was collecting data to "better understand general phone behavior and optimize OxygenOS for a better overall user experience". At the time, OnePlus stated that the whole objective of collecting data was to improve the service.
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