A group of Android apps have been banned from the Google Play Store after an apparent link to the Joker malware was discovered, which enrolls users in expensive subscription plans.
The Joker was first discovered in 2017, but has recently made a comeback in a big – and not very welcome – way, with experts now warning that they’ve seen a huge increase in apps containing this nasty threat.
The latest warning was revealed by the threat team ThreatLabz at Zscaler, who had been monitoring “Joker” for some time. They say a total of 11 apps managed to slip through Google’s defenses, then appeared on the official Play Store and got thousands of installs.
Now, they’ve all been removed from the Play Store, and that should keep anyone who hasn’t already downloaded the program safe from Joker. However, anyone who already has apps stored on their phone is at risk – because Google doesn’t have the ability to remotely delete those apps. So, you’ll need to make sure you take a look at the apps, and erase any of the following from your Android smartphone right away.
Here are the names of the infected apps:
• Free Affluent Message.
• PDF Photo Scanner.
• deluxe Keyboard.
• Comply QR Scanner.
• PDF Converter Scanner.
• Font Style Keyboard.
• Translate Free.
• Saying Message.
• Private Message.
• Read Scanner.
• Print Scanner.
Speaking about the solution, Zscaler said, “Joker is one of the most prominent malware targeting Android devices.” Despite public awareness of this particular malware, it continues to find its way into the official Google App Market by implementing changes in instructions This spyware program is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists and device information, and to register the victim for wireless distinct application protocol (WAP) services.”
Alongside Zscaler’s warning, one of the companies that works with Google to protect devices has issued a troubling announcement about the “Joker.”
Zimperium says it has seen more than 1,000 new Joker samples since its last report on the problem in 2020. The company warns that cyber thieves routinely find new and unique ways to introduce this malware into its official and unofficial app stores.
It is crucial that all Android users do some research before downloading any app on their device, as once a Joker infects the phone, it can cost huge bills without the owner knowing