A new malware has been discovered that does not steal any data from you but instead, forces hacked apps into your phone. The ‘Agent Smith’ malware has reportedly infected over 25 Android devices in the world, including 15 million in India alone.
Researchers at security firm Check Point came across this malware that poses as a Google app, takes advantage of the vulnerabilities of Android’s operating system and replaces legitimately installed apps with fake ones to profit from fraud ads shown by these apps. Agent Smith started off on a popular third-party app store 9Apps, hidden inside apps that are barely there, like photo utility and sex-related apps.
After this vector attack, the malware moved to Google Play Store and hacked into 11 apps: Blockman Go: Free Realms & Mini Games by Blockman Go Studio, Cooking Witch by Ghost Rabbit, Ludo Master – New Ludo Game 2019 For Free, Angry Virus, Bio Blast – Infinity Battle: Shoot virus!, Shooting Jet, Gun Hero: Gunman Game for Free, Clash of Virus, Star Range, Crazy Juicer – Hot Knife Hit Game & Juice Blast, and Sky Warriors: General Attack. Google has now removed these infected apps from the Play Store for good.
The hackers targeted mainly Russian, Indonesian, Arabic and Hindi speakers, according to the research firm. The malware also infected devices in the U.S, the UK and Australia. Researchers have found that the activity of Agent Smith bears close resemblance to the way CopyCat, Gooligans and Hummingbird have worked lately. An interesting feature of the newly discovered malware is that it prevents the target from updating the app and only replaces portions of codes to take over the device.