'Agent Smith' trojan infects 25 million Android phones

With a massive global market share of more than 75-percent, Google has steadily improved the security of Android mobile OS platform. Some of the measures include Play Protect, which scrutinises apps installed on the mobile phone and look for shady activities and inform the device owner. But, looks like it's not enough, as a deadly malware has been detected mimicking google service apps and fooling people to download them.

Security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies have uncovered several malicious apps riddled with malware dubbed as Agent Smith, a popular main antagonist (a computer virus) of The Matrix movie fame.

Like reel character, the trojan apps are hoodwinking the users to believe them as genuine and later, without the consent install codes to illegally snoop on user activities and over time steal financial details.

"The malware attacks user-installed applications silently, making it challenging for common Android users to combat such threats on their own,” said Jonathan Shimonovich, Head of Mobile Threat Detection Research at Check Point Software Technologies. 

“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,” Shimonovich added.

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It can be noted that the malware-riddled apps are being downloaded by users on third-party app store 9Apps and target audience are mainly who speak Hindi,  Russian, Indonesian and Arabic.

So far, 25 million mobiles globally, including 15 million in India are affected by Agent Smith. Other regions include Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America.

We urge mobile phone users to always download apps from Google Play ( for Android) and Apple App ( for iOS) stores only. Never install apps from unknown publishers and also always upgrade to latest software update with security patches every time Google or Apple releases to respective devices. 

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