Yesterday, I was setting-up a User's accessibility on their Phone, more specifically Google's Talk Back feature. I had finished activating and configuring it and proceeded to testing when I noticed something very strange. Before I go any further, the Phone was made by ZTE, it was a couple of years old and was fully updated. The OS was Android 7.1.1.
I wanted to make sure it was working properly so I had it read the contents of a Web Page to me, when I noticed it say the name of a Company and the word "link". This is totally normal for Google Talk back to do. What wasn't normal is the fact that this Link, the link of an Ad, shouldn't have be on this Web Page. How do I know this? It was one of my Web Pages and it was in the middle of an Article.
I quickly picked-up the Phone and, sure enough, there were Ads automatically placed in my Web Page. I had tested Adsense's automatic ad placement feature for a bit and didn't care for it so I removed the ad generating script from all the pages on my site. What I didn't do is disable the use of automatically placed Ads in Adsense. I double-checked the Code to make sure the Script used to place such Ads hadn't been left on that particular Web Page. It had not. I disabled Adsense's auto-placement feature and could not get the Phone to reproduce the anomaly.
I wanted to throw this out there to see if any Security Researcher could confirm this occurrence. As far as I know, my infrastructure is clean, atleast all testing and scanning returns clean. The Phone wasn't going through a VPN or anything else I could think of that could've been hi-jacking the Traffic. All of my friends in the IT Industry have been wondering exactly why Huawei and ZTE have been banned by so many, including Google. There have been a few reasons given but nothing reproducible has been cited and I was wondering if I had stumbled across it. If I did, this could explain why everyone is so tight-lipped about what's going on. I would think there'd be liabilities incurred by Google and other Companies through no fault of their own.