Joker malware on Google Play Store downloaded half a million times

While Google has been trying to keep the Play Store busy, bad apps created by bad actors are still finding their way into the Android store.

The latest of these threats was named the "Joker" after the legendary and crazy Batman villain and was found on a total of 24 Android apps that were recently downloaded to the Google Play Store.

Before Google could shut down the apps, they were downloaded and installed more than 472,000 times. However, it is unclear how many people are still at risk. Below is a list of affected apps that you should uninstall immediately when you are using them.

  • Advocate background
  • Old face
  • altar Embassy
  • Antivirus Security – Security Scan
  • beach camera
  • Board image editing
  • Certain wallpapers
  • Climate SMS
  • Assemble facial scanners
  • Sweet camera
  • Dazzle Wallpaper
  • Declare a message
  • Show camera
  • Great VPN
  • Humor camera
  • Ignite it clean
  • Sheet face scanner
  • Mini Camera
  • Print plant scan
  • Fast face scanner
  • Reward clean
  • Reddish sms
  • Soby camera
  • Spark background

Discovered by the security researcher Aleksej's Kuprinsthe virus should use premium subscription services to extract money from its victims and simulate the process a user would go through to sign up.

In particular, the background component of these apps silently clicks on an ad in the app and does so for the sign-up process on-site. It then accesses the victims' SMS messages and copies the authorization code they sent to verify the subscription payments.

According to Kuprins, the malware has the potential to reach users in 37 countries, including the US, UK and Australia, as well as other EU and Asian countries, although some of the apps had no regional limitations.

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The 24 listed apps are only those that have been discovered so that others may be at risk. Kuprins notes, however, that "Google has removed all of these apps without notice from us." Therefore, it is unlikely that future apps containing the Trojan will have a long life under the observation of the technology giant.

If you have ever installed any of the above apps, after uninstalling, you should review your transaction history and keep track of suspicious account activity such as unfamiliar subscription payments.

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