“Agent Smith” Corrupts Apps Within the Play Store, Impacting Millions

According to The Verge, a new malware variant, deemed Agent Smith, has been targeting Android devices by replacing portions of coding within legitimate apps with malicious coding.

Fortunately, the malware doesn’t steal data from a user. Instead, it forces legitimate applications to display either more ads, or takes credit for the ads already being displayed. This permits the malware author to reap the benefits of profiting from the ads being shown.

A list of the apps impacted has not been released, because not every app user was infected. The malicious author has been targeting users in India and other nearby countries by spreading the malware through a third-party app store called 9Apps. That being said, they did attempt to offer malicious apps within the Google Play Store; however, Google has identified and removed all of the discovered malicious apps.

The key vulnerability that Agent Smith relies on was patched several years ago by Android. Therefore, if users are concerned about falling victim, they can update their devices which would patch the security hole.

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7 thoughts on ““Agent Smith” Corrupts Apps Within the Play Store, Impacting Millions

  1. I think this malicious user also targeted the Caribbean Islands, since I know of many relatives also being afflicted by sudden, randomly-timed full-screen ads whenever they watch YouTube videos (and no, those ads are not served by YouTube because they fill the whole screen even when the videos are not being played full-screen) or read Facebook memes.

  2. A somewhat misleading headline, isn’t it? Who would NOT think of the Google Play Store when reading “the Play Store”?

  3. Well, Google Play Store didn’t get to one soon enough. On July 12, 2019 my Samsung Galaxy 7 got the malware and rendered my cell phone useless other than to answer phone calls. I had to completely wipe my phone and start over.

    • Ensure your apps and operating system are updated. To do so, go into your phone’s settings feature. Here it will tell you if you’re in need of updates.

  4. As far as I know Android updates itself. But I’m a dummy. A dummy meaning that if I don’t have the latest Android OS on my device, how can I update it?

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