According to reports, 25 million Android devices around the world have been infected by a virus called Agent Smith, of which 15 million are in India. The Agent Smith virus pops ads on infected phones, and is reportedly infecting devices via third party app stores. Once the virus has made its way onto your device, it conceals itself by renaming itself to something like Google Updater, which most users would skim over without a second thought.
Check Point Research, a company that works on security apps and provides cybersecurity assistance revealed more details about Agent Smith. The virus allegedly exploits known vulnerabilities in Android and disguises itself as a Google-related app. It then infects and replaces existing apps with malicious versions of themselves. This way the virus is able to freely acquire user info, which could possibly include financial credentials. Users are usually readily happy to provide permissions to the non-malicious version of these apps, which makes the virus’ job even easier. Once infected, the virus worms its way into popular apps on Android devices and continues popping even more ads.
Check Point further reported that the virus is spreading via third party app stores.
In order to avoid being infected, avoid downloading and installing apps from third party app stores and keep your downloads limited to only the Play Store. Be sure to go over permissions that you give to installed apps. Especially apps with Google in their name as that’s what the app disguises itself as.