A new variant of mobile malware has been discovered by the Check Point Research which is a leading provider of cybersecurity of the world. According to Check Point Research, more than 25 millions of Android smartphones have been infected by a new malware called “Agent Smith“.
The most surprising and shocking thing is that this malware hides its own identity, masquerading as famous apps like WhatsApp, Opera, and Flipkart. The security researchers at Check Point have named it as Agent Smith because of the method it uses to attack Android smartphones without getting detected.
This malware basically first exploits known Android vulnerabilities and automatically replaces the installed apps on your phone with malicious versions without the permission of the user.
Coming to the purpose of this malware, it is to be noted that this malware does not steal any users personal data. But it forces the affected app to show ads according to their choice. By showing ads, they are making a profit which is actually an illegal way of earning.
Agent Smith specifically disguised as popular apps like WhatsApp, Flipkart, and Opera to grab more views on their ads as this platform have a huge audience. This malware prevents these apps from getting updated after attacking them i.e. replacing some sections of their code.
Agent Smith malware appears to be focused to get spread in India and its neighboring countries. About 15 million Android devices have been infected by this malware in India. This malware has been originally downloaded from a third-party app store known 9Apps which is very popular in these countries.
The process of impersonation starts, once this malware gets downloaded on the phone. KIt disguises itself as Google related application.
What About The Fix?
Sources suggest that Agent Smith is being run by a Chinese company which mainly focus on helping developers publish apps internationally. The patch of this malware was released a year ago but there are many developers who have still not updated their apps. So, in order to get rid of this malware, you need to update your outdated apps.