OnePlus Accidentally Left An App Which Offers Backdoor Root Access

A developer found an application hidden on the OnePlus 5 which acts as a backdoor for root access, and the app is named ‘EngineerMode’.

A new report shows that all OnePlus phones that are in use right now, including the OnePlus 5, have a program installed that can be used to root the handset. It’s just like having a backdoor in your phone, which could be used by other apps for spying purposes.

Unlike the user data collection issue, this new PR headache might not be entirely OnePlus’s fault. But it certainly doesn’t look good for the company. Either the firm left the app inside the operating system willingly, fully knowing what it can do, or it did it by mistake. The latter offers OnePlus a plausible excuse, but it also implies there’s a lack of quality assurance testing when it comes to its software.

The application is called Engineer Mode and it was discovered by developer Elliot Alderson
who was able to reverse-engineer it to root the handset. According to Android Police, the app is installed on the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 5.

The app’s primary purpose is to test the phones during manufacturing and make sure the device is working correctly, but the app isn’t then wiped from the phone. That appears to be a massive security issue, as hackers may find ways to use it to gain access to OnePlus handsets.

Alderson did say on Twitter that the app is made by Qualcomm, but customized by OnePlus. The developer will release an app in the PlayStore that will let you root your OnePlus handset. That should be great news for those Android savvy users who want to root their devices.

But that’s just the byproduct of a security issue that OnePlus needs to address as soon as possible, especially considering that it’s getting ready to launch a brand new OnePlus handset. OnePlus CEO Carl Pei replied to the developer stating that the company is “looking into it”, so we’ll likely see a new update released which will remove this ‘EngineerMode’ application.

Nonetheless, if you are more excited about seeing a new root method for the OnePlus lineup, let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, there isn’t much to worry about here, as long as you are careful about downloading non-verified applications that could access parts of your phone and get access to your information.

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