Google has recently removed 17 Android applications from its official distribution service platform Google Play Store. These 17 apps were infected with Joker malware, which is also known as Bread malware.
The security researchers at Zscaler, which is a California-based IT security company, identified these malicious apps. “This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information. Along with silently signing up the victim for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services,” Zscaler security researcher Viral Gandhi said.
As soon as Google was notified about these 17 malicious apps that intend to gain unauthorised access to the users’ data. Thus the company’s Android Security team took prompt action to remove the apps from the Google Play Store.
After monitoring these 17 apps and discovered that they were infected with Joker malware. This malware keeps finding its way to the Google Play Store by employing changes in its code.
The apps are said to have a total of 120,000 downloads, so in case you have downloaded them, you should uninstall them right away.
Although it’s surprising yet true that popular apps include PDF scanners, messengers, translators, app lock, and collage maker are infected.
What is Joker Malware?
According to Zscaler security researcher stated, “Joker is one of the most prominent malware families that continually targets Android devices. Despite awareness of this particular malware, it keeps finding its way into Google’s official application market by employing changes in its code, execution methods, or payload-retrieving techniques. This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information along with silently signing up the victim for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services”.
Here’s a list of 17 infected apps removed from Google Play Store:
- All Good PDF Scanner
- Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
- Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
- Tangram App Lock
- Direct Messenger
- Private SMS
- One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
- Style Photo Collage
- Meticulous Scanner
- Desire Translate
- Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
- Care Message
- Part Message
- Paper Doc Scanner
- Blue Scanner
- Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
- All Good PDF Scanner
The cybersecurity expert advises users to pay close attention while giving permission lists in the apps that you install on your Android device.
Hence, before installing an app read the comment or reviews on the app page from Google Play store. Watch out for the risky permissions related to SMS, call logs, contacts, and more to avoid being a victim of hackers.