Canberra: A vast number of Australian Android users may have downloaded a new form malware that hides in plain sight on their smartphones. The malware has been dubbed ‘Agent Smith’ after a menacing character in The Matrix trilogy, and due to the malware’s nature of attacking a device yet avoiding detection.
Cybersecurity firm Check Point said the new variant of mobile malware has infected around 25 million devices worldwide, with many users unaware that virus is currently on their device.
How does it work? An unsuspecting user is lured into downloading a ‘dropper application’, like a free game,utility app or even adult entertainment app from a third-party app store. But the dropper app then disguises itself as a Google-related app and renames itself something like ‘google updater’, then checks the phone for other popular ‘innocent’ apps – such as WhatsApp – that are already installed on the device.The malicious app then starts replacing a part of the codes of those apps – all without noticing.
Not only does ‘Agent Smith’ hack apps to push pop-up ads, the malware can also be used to steal your banking details.“It could easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes such as banking credential theft and eavesdropping,” said Check Point.
“Due to its ability to hide its icon from the launcher and impersonate existing user-trusted popular apps, there are endless possibilities for this sort of malware to harm a user’s device.”