On Wednesday, July 10th news broke out across the internet that a new type of malware known by the dubious pseudonym of “Agent Smith” had quietly spread to over 25 million mobile phones across the globe, creating WhatsApp security concerns.
How did this happen? Experts believe that malware was secretly downloaded onto Android devices when users attempted to download certain apps such as WhatsApp. Instead of downloading the app, the user was actually downloading dangerous malware, leaving their mobile device completely exposed.
This latest malware attack is just the latest in a string of security snafus associated with the consumer chat app, WhatsApp.
Here’s what you need to know about this latest security threat.
What Is “Agent Smith?”
Agent Smith is a new type of particularly toxic malware that secretly replaces popular apps like WhatsApp on people’s phone without their knowledge. The new version of the fake apps then display a slew of ads right there on a user’s phone.
The malware works by exploiting existing weakness in Android operating systems.
India was hit hardest by these Agent Smith attacks, though there were also a considerable number of victims throughout Australia, the UK, and the US.
So far, the goal of the attack appears to have been centered around serving up ads on Android users’ mobile devices, although some security experts have warned that this malware could easily be used for more malicious intent like stealing someone’s banking information or even spying on unsuspecting users through their camera or microphones.
WhatsApp — A Breeding Ground for Scammers
The ubiquity of WhatsApp has also made it the ideal place for scammers to locate potential victims. Just days before the Agent Smith attacks made headlines, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) released a new crime advisory of a scam involving the hacking of WhatsApp accounts.
According to the police, the scam would begin with a target receiving a WhatsApp message (from a registered number on the victim’s contact list, whose account has already been hacked) asking for a six-digit verification code sent to the victim’s phone.
Once someone falls for the trap and sends the verification code, the victim completely loses control of their WhatsApp account!
A Secure Internal Communication Solution Is More Important than Ever
Consumer chat apps like WhatsApp are practically crawling with spammers, scammers, and hackers. Yet businesses still use these platforms to share sensitive internal business data every single day.
In light of the recent GDPR regulations, it’s absolutely essential to ensure that your frontline employees are using a compliant, secure messaging platform. Otherwise, your business could be vulnerable to outside attacks.
Beekeeper — The Secure Operational Communication Platform
Don’t waste time trying to track down communication software that complies with new data privacy laws. Beekeeper is already GDPR-compliant! We offer a secure communication platform that protects employee and sensitive business data. We believe in our customers’ right to privacy and will stop at nothing to ensure the security of our users’ personal data.
To do this, we built a top-notch team to make sure that our software offers enterprise-grade data security for our customers. With a virtual private cloud, multi-layer tenant data segregation, and full data encryption, you can rest easy knowing that your business data is safe and secure with the Beekeeper employee app.
To learn more about why consumer-grade apps could threaten your business data, download our Security and Support checklist.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! On Wednesday, July 10th news broke out across the internet that a new type of malware known by the dubious pseudonym of "Agent Smith" had quietly spread to over 25 million mobile phones across the globe, creating WhatsApp security concerns.