Computer code developed by a company called Pushwoosh is in about 8,000 Apple and Google smartphone apps. The company pretends to be American when it is actually Russian.
According to company documents publicly filed in Russia and reviewed by Reuters, Pushwoosh is headquartered in the Siberian town of Novosibirsk, where it is registered as a software company that also carries out data processing. It employs around 40 people and reported revenue of 143,270,000 rubles ($2.4 mln) last year. Pushwoosh is registered with the Russian government to pay taxes in Russia.
On social media and in US regulatory filings, however, it presents itself as a US company, based at various times in California, Maryland, and Washington, DC, Reuters found.
What does the code do? Spy on people:
Pushwoosh provides code and data processing support for software developers, enabling them to profile the online activity of smartphone app users and send tailor-made push notifications from Pushwoosh servers.
On its website, Pushwoosh says it does not collect sensitive information, and Reuters found no evidence Pushwoosh mishandled user data. Russian authorities, however, have compelled local companies to hand over user data to domestic security agencies.
I have called supply chain security “an insurmountably hard problem,” and this is just another example of that.