Virus on WhatsApp: now also in Germany – and hit a total of 25 million devices

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"Agent Smith" is coming: a new virus usually lurks on unrecognized Android devices and can attack programs like WhatsApp.

© dpa / Fabian summer

"Agent Smith" spreads through various programs like Whatsapp. The virus has already affected over 25 million devices worldwide – now there are cases in Germany.

Update 17.7.2019, 10.27 clock: It was only a matter of time: now it has the malicious software "Agent Smith" and Android phones infested by German users. The IT security experts of the "Check Point" company have confirmed to the "Focus" that the virus has been discovered so far on about 42,000 devices in Germany. Previously, malicious software had been detected on mobile phones and other Android devices, particularly in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There had also been cases in the United States and the United Kingdom – but much less.

Agent Smith virus: can attack WhatsApp and other applications

Munich – A particularly bad virus currently affects Android devices in different parts of the world. Already 25 million devices would be affected. According to Israeli security company "Check Point", malware acts in the background, which is why Android users are completely innocent.

Malicious software – dubbed "Agent Smith" by IT experts – disguises itself as a common app and hides behind free games or tools. After installation, the device will be cleaned for frequently used apps like WhatsApp. These applications will then be replaced by the virus app, after which the victims will be attracted with fraudulent ads and profits to kidnap in dubious sites.

Agent Smith virus: hackers can acquire bank data

Furthermore, the virus can intercept users and follow their position, as well as their movements and inputs. It also offers hackers the opportunity to access banking data. Most people affected – 15 million – come from India, as well as many other Android devices are infected in Pakistan and Bangladesh. But in other parts of the world, malware has already spread: so there are 300,000 cases in the United States, another 137,000 in the United Kingdom. At least for now, German users are safe.

"Check Point" reports that the transport app is predominantly Indian, Arab, Russian and Indonesian. It is said that the company discovered eleven apps with traces of malware in the Google Play Store. Apparently, the virus was created by an unspecified Chinese company in Guangzhou while it was working to allow Chinese Android developers to promote their apps on foreign platforms.

Danger for WhatsApp and Co. from the Chinese distribution site

Google has identified Chinese third parties as a central distribution point. In response, the apps would no longer be approved by Google. 9App has already been removed from the Google Play Store.

Anyone who considers "FaceApp" a joke will not do so in the face of this case: a child who died in 2001 has now been recovered.

Here's how Android users can protect themselves from "Agent Smith"

Therefore, it is advisable to download apps only from reliable sources such as Google Play Store, even if this does not mean a 100% guarantee. Remedy also anti-virus programs. Jonathan Shimonovich of "Check Point Software Technologies" recommends always installing the latest Android version. The last update has already been updated accordingly.

A break caused not only a significant interruption on Facebook and WhatsApp, but also revealed unplanned secret features. With just a few clicks, every user can see what Instagram thinks they know about him. A new feature of WhatsApp, on the other hand, puts an end to certain embarrassments.

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