What is Agent Smith – The virus which has infected millions of Android Phones?

The virus has infected over 15 million phones in India and can steal your bank details!

It goes by the name of Agent Smith and it is making headlines all over the world as this virus has infected 25 million phones of which over 15 million (over 1.5 crores) are in India. The virus, which pops up serving ads on the infected phones, has been spreading through third-party app stores like 9Apps. Also, once it makes its presence felt in a phone, it becomes discreet and hides by changing its name to a regular-looking app like Google Updater.

This piece of information has been revealed by Check Point, a company which makes security apps and also provides guidance on the different cyber security checks.

“Disguised as a Google-related application, the malware exploits known Android vulnerabilities and automatically replaces installed apps with malicious versions without users knowledge or interaction. Dubbed Agent Smith, the malware currently uses its broad access to the devices resources to show fraudulent ads for financial gain, but could easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes such as banking credential theft and eavesdropping,” noted Check Point.

As per Check Point, Agent Smith spreads primarily through third-party app stores like 9Apps. As far as Google’s Play store is concerned, the fact that it is regulated more strongly makes the spread rather difficult for fishy and malicious code or virus like Agent Smith, especially on Android phones.

However, Indians generally use third-party stores to download the different modified version of apps. Hence, this Agent Smith virus, which is hidden in sex-related apps, games, and photography apps, finds it easy to make its way to the phones. Once the app has been installed, it asks for permissions and mostly, the user generally says yes to everything and then it goes on to modify its name to something that looks more “authentic” like Google Updater or Google Themes.

The best way to stay safe is by not downloading apps from third-party app stores like 9Apps. Yes, few things are free, but there is always a hidden cost attached. Hence, it is advised to download apps only from the official Google Play store.

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