Barnes & Noble began outsourcing its Nook e-readers a few years ago after a partnership with Samsung and their latest $50 Nook 7 android tablet, announced the last month, shows us how that has worked out for them. Their latest e-reader includes an ADUPS, a firmware which sends user data back to the manufacturer or an interested hacker. This means someone overseas had the ability to collect your personal information and wipe your Nook clean. If it had the ADUPS spyware installed. This is the same malware that researchers found on cheap Blu tablets and phones last month.
But this isn’t bad news for customers who already paid $50 for Barnes & Noble’s tablet. BLU phones that were infected with the ADUPS had a ‘Wireless Update’ entry in the Application menu. Which enabled the US-based company to disable the ADUPS agent.
Unfortunately, the same functionality isn’t available on the Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet 7”, which means that the ADUPS agent can’t be removed via software update.
Barnes & Noble told us, that a software update removing the exploit was deployed for all Nooks, and it is working on an update that will remove ADUPS from the e-readers entirely. ADUPS additionally said it did not collect any ‘personally identifiable information or location data,’ and it did not intend to.
What can ADUPS do?
When installed, the software can essentially read and transmit all of the data on that device including text messages, phone calls, private data, location info, and more. In the case of BLU and seemingly in this case as well, that data is being transmitted to the China. Even though following the fiasco from BLU. ADUPS likely will not transmit that data, it can be enabled at any time and without user knowledge.
The NOOK Tablet 7” is powered by a MediaTek MT8163 processor, and unlike the previous Barnes & Noble tablets that feature OMAP / Snapdragon designs, it must have been contracted to Shenzen Jingwah Information Technology Co., Ltd.
That might explain the presence of the ADUPS software inside the NOOK Tablet 7”. Barnes & Noble has yet to comment on the matter.