OnePlus Phone Backdoor: Devices Shipped With Factory App That Can Root Devices

OnePlus 5 Security

OnePlus left a backdoor in its devices capable of root access

This is not the first time that OnePlus has been accused of compromising privacy of its users.

Robert Baptiste, a freelance security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter after the Mr. Robot TV show character, found the tool on a OnePlus phone and tweeted his findings Monday.

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

He was able to find a system app named EngineerMode that is actually a Qualcomm factory app with the ability to toggle components such as the charging chip, GPS, NFC and others - as this app shouldn't be included in consumer-side ROMs, it's a target app that malicious actors will want to crack into. The developer also stated that deploying the "DiagEnabled" activity found in the APK with a specific password, it is possible to root the device.

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A potentially risky backdoor in multiple OnePlus devices has been just unearthed by a knowing developer, revealing a hidden app that can be potentially used to gain root access and take control over the device. According to Alderson, the app is installed on some of the OnePlus devices. It is alarming how easily someone can get access to your smartphones in this day and age.

If it's there, anyone with physical access to your device can exploit EngineerMode to gain root access on your smartphone.

The inclusion of the app appears to be an oversight on the part of OnePlus, and company founder Carl Pei said the team is looking into it. The developer claims that the company has left behind the software intentionally, and he will come out with the application for rooting OnePlus devices without unlocking. At the time, OnePlus stated that the whole objective of collecting data was to improve the service.

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