Check Point which is a cyber security solutions provider revealed on Wednesday that ‘Agent Smith’, a new variant of mobile malware, has infected around 25 million Android devices globally, including 15 million mobile devices in India.
Disguised as a Google-related app, the malware exploits known Android vulnerabilities and automatically replaces installed apps with malicious versions without the users’ knowledge or interaction, said Check Point Research, the threat intelligence arm of Israel-based Check Point.
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. This activity resembles previous malware campaigns such as “Gooligan”, “Hummingbad” and “CopyCat”.
“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. “Agent Smith” was originally downloaded from the widely used third-party app store, 9Apps and targeted mostly Hindi, Arabic, Russian and Indonesian-speaking users.