Google has removed 17 apps from the Google Play Store after researchers discovered the apps were infected with the Joker malware. This is not the first time Joker has infiltrated the store. Apps officially available on the Google Play Store has been the main way Joker has been spreading. Eleven of the apps were removed in July and the latest batch added another 6.
Here is the list of the apps most recently removed from the store in connection with Joker:
- Convenient Scanner 2
- Emoji Wallpaper
- Fingertip GameBox
- Push Message- Texting & SMS
- Safety AppLock
- Separate Doc Scanner
Here is the list from July:
The apps on the lists are no longer available on the Google Play Store so they don’t pose any threat of further infections. However, Android users should make sure they don’t already have one or more of them installed. If any of those are installed, the users should remove them immediately. The current case of the malicious apps are reminiscent of when the Google Play Store was riddled with malware apps in large numbers just a few years back.
The Joker malware is a threat for devices running Android. Once Joker has infiltrated a device it aims to display ads, simulate clicks and what’s more troubling - it can intercept text messages. By accessing the text messages, Joker is able to subscribe the victim to a number of paid "services." Text messages are widely used to verify the identity of users and receive consent for transactions of various nature. The creators of Joker tried to make it hard to detect and able to operate with minimum traces.
As mentioned, this isn’t the first time Joker infected apps have made it onto the Google Play Store. The cybercriminals behind Joker are probably working hard to find more ways to get back on the store and it’s likely this won’t be the last time Joker makes headlines.