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Agent Smith - what you need to know about the smartphone virus

The IT security company Checkpoint discovered the malware some time ago and named it "Agent Smith". Until recently, only devices from abroad, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, were affected. Now there are probably also cases in Great Britain, the USA and also Germany.

What is Agent Smith doing?

Agent Smith exchanges apps, the most popular being WhatsApp, with an identical looking and working program that contains questionable advertisements. So far it is only known that Agent Smith plays false advertisements to dubious providers. The experts fear that Agent Smith could also collect personal data such as pictures or bank information, but there are no cases here in which this has happened.

How can you catch Agent Smith?

At first, Agent Smith was only present in apps that did not come from the official PlayStore and were published by third parties. Unfortunately, apps from the PlayStore are now also infected. So far, 11 apps have already been removed from the store.

However, the greatest risk of infection still lurks in apps that are not downloaded from the PlayStore. Older Android versions are most likely affected, especially 5 and 6, with versions 7 and 8 fewer cases are known, and currently none with the current 9 and 10.


How does Agent Smith work?

If you download an infected app, it searches for apps on the smartphone that have already been rewritten and then reinstalls them. The newly installed apps are not the original, but a replica. This can be seen above all from the fact that suddenly there is completely different advertising.

Frequently replaced apps by Agent Smith

  • Whatsapp
  • lenovo.anyshare.gps
  • jiochat.jiochatapp
  • jio.join
  • good.gamecollection
  • startv.hotstar
  • meitu.beautyplusme
  • domobile.applock
  • touchtype.swiftkey
  • cn.xender
  • eterno
  • truecaller

How can you protect yourself from Agent Smith?

The easiest way to protect yourself is to only download apps from trustworthy sources and keep the operating system up to date with updates. The security updates are especially important here. Virus scanner apps can generally help to protect against malware.

How do you get rid of Agent Smith?

To get rid of the virus, you have to uninstall the affected app or, if you suspect it, all new apps that could carry the virus. You also have to uninstall the replica app that contains the unsuitable advertising.