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A group of Android apps has been banned from the Google Play Store after an apparent link to the Joker malware was discovered, which enrolls users in expensive subscriptions.
The Joker was first discovered in 2017, but has recently made a comeback with a major — and highly unwelcome — pundits now warning that they’ve seen a massive surge in apps containing this nasty threat.
The latest warning was revealed by the threat team ThreatLabz at Zscaler, which had been eyeing “Joker” for some time. They say a total of 11 apps slipped through Google’s defenses, then appeared on the official Play Store and received thousands of installs.
Now they’ve all been removed from the Play Store, and that should keep anyone who hasn’t downloaded the program yet safe from Joker. However, anyone who already has apps stored on their phone is at risk — because Google doesn’t have the ability to delete those apps remotely. So make sure to check out the apps and erase the following from your Android smartphone right away.
Here are the names of the infected apps:
• Free prosperous message.
• PDF photo scanner.
• luxury keyboard.
• Comply with QR scanner.
• PDF converter scanner.
• Font style keyboard.
• Translate for free.
• Say message.
• Private message.
• Read Scanner.
• Print scanner.
Speaking of 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 make its way into the official Google App Market by making changes to instructions. This spyware program is designed to steal text messages, contact lists, and device information, and to register the victim for WAP services (Wireless Different Application Protocol).
In addition to Zscaler’s warning, one of the companies partnering with Google to protect devices has made a disturbing announcement about the “Joker.”
Zimperium says it has seen more than 1,000 new Joker samples since its last report on the issue in 2020. The company warns that cyber thieves are routinely finding new and unique ways to introduce this malware into its official and unofficial app stores.
It is critical that all Android users do some research before downloading any app on their device because once a Joker infects the phone it can cost huge bills without the owner knowing.
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