A new species of mobile malware is on the loose and has infected at least 25 million android phones world-wide including 15 million mobile devices in India. The number of victims is growing steadily and the malware could even be used to dip into your bank accounts to rip you off.
Once inside the system, the malware is able to constantly clone itself and has been dubbed Agent Smith – a nod to Hugo Weaving’s sinister Matrix character who was able to replicate himself endlessly in the early noughties sci-fi action franchise.
While it primarily is used for financial gain by showing “malicious advertisements”, Check Point researchers Aviran Hazum, Feixiang He, Inbal Marom, Bogdan Melnykov and Andrey Polkovnichenko say that it “easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes such as banking credential theft.
However, the researchers wrote they have “worked closely with Google and at the time of publishing, no malicious apps remain on the Play Store”. “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,” Jonathan Shimonovich, Head of Mobile Threat Detection Research at Check Point Software Technologies said.
Check Point says you can remove the malware by uninstalling any suspicious-looking apps in the application manager, or simply getting rid of recently installed apps.