MALWARE ALERT: An 'Agent Smith' Virus Has Infected 25 Million Phones

Image: Warner Bros. Picture

If you own an Android device, it might already be infected with a dangerous malware called Agent Smith, named after the menacing character in The Matrix. The malware's already infected around 25 million Android devices globally, with thousands in Australia thought to be compromised. Here's what you need to know.

What is Agent Smith?

As reported on Checkpoint, Agent Smith has been invading devices via dodgy third-party apps. It plasters fake ads throughout these apps to generate revenue. Once it's in your phone, however, it can spread to other apps and does a great job of imitating them without obviously being malicious.

While its impact is limited to infiltrating apps with annoying ads, Check Point warns it has the capacity to do far more damage. It could start imitating apps like WhatsApp and stealing sensitive information like passwords and banking details.

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So, how do I get rid of it?

The best way to get rid of the malware is to delete any infected apps. If an app looks a bit dodgy or isn't behaving like it usually would, your best bet is to delete it and freshly re-install it from a trusted app store like Google Play.

Prevention is the best method, Check Point says, but with Agent Smith's covert ways, you'll need to be extra careful in order to avoid your device being infected.

"The malware attacks user-installed applications silently, making it challenging for common Android users to combat such threats on their own," Check Point's Jonathan Shimonovich said.

"Combining advanced threat prevention and threat intelligence while adopting a 'hygiene first' approach to safeguard digital assets is the best protection against invasive mobile malware attacks like 'Agent Smith'. In addition, 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."

[Via The Verge]


Comments

    with thousands in Australia thought to be compromised.

    Is this you guys that thinks there's thousands of Aussie devices compromised? Because the Verge story doesn't mention anything about Australia.

    Someone would have to go to a bit of effort, with lots of warnings been thrown throughout the process, to actually find this dodgy app store and install one of these malicious apps parading as a genuine app (that would have been much, much easier to just install from the Play Store to begin with).
    So anyone outside of India (that apparently has a good reason to use this 3rd party app store?) dumb enough to go through the effort to infect their device probably shouldn't be using a smart phone.

      Ah I take it you're referring to the Checkpoint article for the numbers? The country list in the heat map of "affected" locations looks awfully similar to common VPN exit node locations. So I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of incidents outside of India is realistically a lot smaller.

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