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Amidst the whole Huawei spying controversy, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer Samsung too found itself in the middle of a spyware scandal. However, Samsung was quick to respond to a Reddit user’s concern by assuring that the issue the Redditor had found out doesn’t pose any security threat or has anything to do with spying.
Samsung logo as seen during Galaxy Note 8 consumer launch event in Jakarta, Indonesia September 29, 2017
Recently, a Reddit user had posted that the ‘Device Care’ feature that’s found in all Samsung phones and tablets was powered by a company called +360. The problem is +360 represents the Chinese antivirus company Qihoo 360, a company whose software has been accused in the past of being spyware that interacted with Chinese servers.
The Redditor, like any other concerned user, had warned Samsung and Android users regarding the risks associated with giving out personal data to a company that was known for being involved in privacy-related scandals in the past.
The user added that the ‘Storage’ scanner found inside of Samsung devices ‘Device Care’ settings has full access to our personal data and warned that if the Chinese government requested this data from Qihoo 360, the company was obliged to do so as per Chinese laws and regulations.
The user’s concern was that the ‘Device Care’ feature was “powered by +360,” a fact that Samsung itself has verified. Although it is not known what kind of data the Storage module forwards to the Chinese servers, it was confirmed during the feature’s launch that it does interact with several servers based in China.
Following the Redditor’s warning, several Samsung users brought up the issue on Samsung’s forums too and requested the South Korean tech giant to take out Qihoo 360 software out of the Device Care feature on its phones and tablets.
Samsung’s response and assurance
Meanwhile, Samsung which takes it’s users privacy and safety concerns very seriously, issued a statement regarding this issue on the official Samsung Members app for Korea, and assure its users that “it does not use any function of 360 Security all, but only outsources database checking for unnecessary files.”
User security and privacy concerns have come to the forefront after Chinese tech giant Huawei was alleged by the US government of spying for China and subsequently banned from the selling its devices in the country last year.