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July 15, 2019
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Khaleejtimes Technology

25 million Android phones infected with fake apps

The malware is capable of disguising as popular apps like WhatsApp.

A dangerous malware ‘Agent Smith’ has infected 25 million devices across India and the US by covertly replacing apps inside a user’s phone with hacked versions.

Named after a fictional character from ‘The Matrix’, the virus ‘Agent Smith’ displays ads selected by the hackers, allowing them to profit off their views, security researchers. This was highlighted by the security firm, Check Point, on Wednesday, which stated that the virus affects users on Android devices.

The malware is capable of disguising as popular apps like WhatsApp or Flipkart and replace code in the original program with its own malicious version that prevents an app from being updated.

According to reports in Daily Mail, at least 15 million of the devices infected are located in India and 300,000 have been detected in the US. While, other infections are spread across Asia as well as the UK, and Australia.

“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.

Revealing further about ‘Agent Smith’, researchers said that the said virus was able to spread to devices through a third-party app store called 9Apps. As reported by The Verge, creators of the malware also attempted to infect users in the Google Play store through 11 apps containing bits of malicious code. But Google has successfully removed all the infected apps from its store.

To avoid being infected by malware like Agent Smith, researchers said, “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.”

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