25 Million Android Phones Infected By ‘Agent Smith’ Malware
Recently, the security researchers at Check Point have spotted a new malware called ‘Agent Smith’. According to the reports from the security firm Check Point, Agent Smith, an Android malware, has affected more than 25 million smartphones across the world.
OMG! Agent Smith
Android is definitely not one of the most secure operating systems for smartphones. Every other day, we hear about new hacking attempts targeted towards the Android operating system. Recently, the security researchers at Check Point have spotted a new malware called ‘Agent Smith’.
According to the reports from the security firm Check Point, Agent Smith, an Android malware, has affected more than 25 million phones across the world. The malware got the ability to attack an Android smartphone without getting noticed.
The malware was initially designed to show ads on the infected phones to generate revenue, and it spreads through third-party app stores.
What’s worst is that once installed on a smartphone, the malware hides by changing its name to a regular-looking app like Google Themes, Google Updater, etc. As of now, the malware has infected almost 15 million Android devices in India alone.
This was also because the malware spread itself through third-party app stores like 9apps and Indian users mostly visit such apps stores to download modded apps, hacked apps, etc.
According to the security firm, the malware exploits the known weakness in Android to replace the legitimate apps on the device with hacked apps. It doesn’t steal users data, but it forces the hacked apps to display more ads to generate revenue.
Agent Smith Malware – How It Works?
According to the security firm, Check Point, the malware is ‘Disguised as a Google-related application, the malware exploits known Android vulnerabilities and automatically replaces installed apps with malicious versions without users’ knowledge or interaction… Dubbed Agent Smith, the malware currently uses its broad access to the devices’ resources to show fraudulent ads for financial gain, but could easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes such as banking credential theft and eavesdropping”
Detecting Agent Smith on infected smartphones can be challenging because the malware attacks user-installed application silently. It targets popular apps like WhatsApp, Opera, Flipkart, etc. and it replaces sections of their codes. After replacing the codes, the malware prevents the affected apps from being updated.
Jonathan Shimonovich, Head of Mobile Threat Detection Research at Check Point Software Technologies said “The malware attacks user-installed applications silently, making it challenging for common Android users to combat such threats on their own,”
“Users should only be downloading apps from trusted app stores to mitigate the risk of infection as third-party app stores often lack the security measures required to block adware loaded apps.”
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