‘Agent Smith’ Malware Effects Millions Of Android Phones
A new strain of malware has quietly infected an estimated 25 million outdated Android devices.
Israeli security researchers discovered the adware that was dubbed “Agent Smith” by security firm Check Point. The adware exploits known Android vulnerabilities to infect common mobile applications. Agent Smith is a fictional character in The Matrix franchise.
The applications include WhatsApp, FlipKart and Opera Mini, which the user has already installed.
Agent Smith injects unwanted ads into an existing app and steals the profits from those that are already there. It reportedly stems from a Chinese internet company located in Guangzhou that helps Chinese Android developers promote apps in their countries.
The suspicious apps were removed from the Google Play store after Check Point reported them to Google.
“Today this malware shows unwanted ads, tomorrow it could steal sensitive information; from private messages to banking credentials and more much,” said Check Point in a blog.
Most devices that are affected by the adware are based in India, as well as other South Asian countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. There have been more instances in the U.S. however, as well as Saudi Arabia, Australia and the U.K.