How to Spot and Remove Agent Smith Malware on Android

MakeUseOf | 7/16/2019 | Gavin Phillips
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A new malware type targeting smartphones has infected some 25 million devices, 15 million of which are in India. The malware is dubbed “Agent Smith.” It targets the Android mobile operating system, replacing installed apps with a malicious version without alerting the user.

Here’s how you spot Agent Smith, how to stop it, and how to protect against Android malware.

Smith - Malware

What Is Agent Smith Malware?

Agent Smith is a modular malware that exploits a series of Android vulnerabilities to replace legitimate existing apps with a malicious imitation. (What is modular malware, anyway?) The malicious app doesn’t steal data. Instead, apps replaced display a huge number of adverts to the user or steal credit from the device to pay for adverts already served.

Malware - Malware - Havoc - PC

Malware has become more difficult to detect. What is modular malware, and how you stop it wreaking havoc on your PC?

The malware carries the “Agent Smith” moniker, the same name as the infamous Matrix character who is characterized as a virus. The Check Point research team reason that the methods the malware uses to propagate are similar to Agent Smith’s techniques in the film series.

Malware - Applications - Android - Users - Threats

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

Moreover, Agent Smith has infected a huge number of devices. India has by far the most infections. The Check Point research indicates some 15 million devices carrying Agent Smith. The next closest country is Bangladesh, with around 2.5 million devices infected. There were over 300,000 Agent Smith infections in the US and around...
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