Now and then, a new malware emerges. They are mostly unpredictable and a reflection of the porous security systems we have in the world. In 2019, the world battled one such malware. It was known as Agent Smith and was a little different from the regular malware the world was used to. In addition, it appeared to flourish more in India.
2021 makes it two whole years since companies battled with the malware. It is time for these businesses to cast their minds back, assess the problems the malware precipitated, and how to avoid future similar occurrences.
The Angel Smith Malware
Security firm Checkpoint was the first to discover the virus. The firm revealed that it had affected about 25 million devices, with about 15 million in India. It was called Agent Smith because of its mode of operation and its ability to evade detection. The malware also specifically targeted Android devices, exploiting vulnerabilities in that model of devices.
How did it work? The malware silently replaced installed apps with its version. It then used its app versions to show ads for financial gain. However, the uproar about the malware was great then because of its possibility to be used for huge attacks. With its capabilities, it could have been used for credit card theft or even eavesdropping.
The malware was thought to originate from India originally. Indians have always suffered security challenges, even in 2021. In that case, however, it was discovered that Indians suffered the most attacks because the malware was originally downloaded from 9App, a third-party app store.
9App was used by nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, a huge percentage of its users were Indians. This accounted for the many Indians that were attacked.
The malware was very efficient because it got embedded in Android devices without users even knowing it. It operated with the same model as other malware such as Gooligan, CopyCat, and Hummingbad.
Two years since it was discovered, security threats have not diminished. However, there are crucial lessons to be learned from its emergence and the havoc the single malware wreaked. It is only from learning from past mistakes that threats like that can be neutralized.
The Way Forward
It has been 2 years since the Angel Smith malware-infected millions of devices. However, threats will continue to exist, some of which will be like Angel Smith. So how do Indian organizations and businesses stay ahead of the threats?
Resist Using Third-Party App Stores
Downloading apps from third-party app stores will always be a terrible idea. This is because there will always be threats lurking around on such platforms in a lot of cases. In this case, third-party app 9App was the source of the Angel Smith malware.
Organizations should make it mandatory for employees to download apps only from recognized app stores as a precautionary measure.
Update Apps Periodically
It is always important to update apps periodically. Outdated apps could contain malware in themselves. In addition, they could also leave devices vulnerable to attacks. Software developers improve their software to plug “holes” and prevent attacks. Hence, when apps are not updated frequently, they compromise devices. One infected device could spell doom for a company. Hence, employers ought to make it a point of duty to update systems frequently. Thankfully, most apps notify you when there is an improved version. Similarly, organizations could automate the update process. This is simply through granting permissions to apps to get updated once there is a new version available. Automating the update process reduces the possibility of malware attacks.
Ignorance is perhaps the biggest contributor to attacks. Employees who are unaware of safety tips and strategies end up putting organizations in danger.
Hence, it is imperative to conduct basic tutorials, teaching employees about the common dangers on the internet and how to avoid them. Of course, employees do not need to become tech experts. However, learning the basics about detecting and preventing attacks could go a long way. Now, more than ever, employees need to learn how to detect possible phishing efforts, malware-infested websites, and so on.
Installing Malware-prevention Software
Malware detectors are indispensable in today’s world. Firstly, they serve a preventive purpose. They can detect malware and block them. In addition, the apps could also eliminate any malware or virus. There are several antivirus software that organizations can employ. To prevent a future Angel Smith malware, firms need to locate and use the strongest apps. These sorts of apps are subscription-based. Hence, organizations looking to prevent such attacks ought to be willing to expend some money in the process.
The Angel Smith malware caused a lot of havoc to Indian Android users. Unfortunately, several years down the line, many individuals and organizations still make the same mistakes that led to the malware. To prevent future attacks, organizations need to be primed to anticipate attacks.
(Brand Desk Content)