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Beware of “Joker Malware Virus” in your installed apps

 

The dangerous Joker virus has returned to haunt Android apps yet again. Earlier in July 2020, the Joker virus targeted as much as more than 40 Android apps available on Google Play Store post which Google had to remove those infected apps from Play Store. This time again, the Joker virus has freshly targeted eight new Android apps. The malicious virus steals users’ data, including SMS, contact list, device info, OTPs, and more.

 

If using you are any of these apps, uninstall them immediately, or your confidential data will be compromised. Before, informing more about the Joker malware, here are the 8 apps:

 

  • Auxiliary message
  • Fast Magic SMS
  • Free CamScanner
  • Super Message
  • Element Scanner
  • Go Messages
  • Travel wallpapers
  • Super SMS

 

If you have any of the above-mentioned apps installed in your Android smartphone, uninstall them on priority. Uninstalling an app is very simple. Go to your app explorer screen and long press on the target application. Tap on Uninstall. That’s all!

 

Joker is a vicious malware, which is dynamic and powerful. It gets injected into your device with an application installed on your smartphone. The moment it gets installed, it scans your entire device, and extracts text messages, SMS, passwords, other log-in credentials, and sends them back to the hackers. Besides, Joker is capable of automatically enrolling the attacked device for premium Wireless application Protocol services. The subscriptions cost huge and they get billed to you. You might be wondering from where are these phantom transactions coming.

 

Google scans its Play Store apps frequently and periodically and removes any malware it tracks. But joker malware can alter its codes and camouflage itself back into the apps. So, this joker is not funny, but, somewhat like the Joker from Batman.

 

What is a Trojan Malware?

 

For those unaware, a trojan or a trojan horse is a kind of malware that often camouflage as legitimate software and steals sensitive information from users including bank details. Trojans can be employed by cyber-criminals or hackers to tricks users and generate revenue by stealing money from them. Here’s how Joker trojan malware affects apps and how one can avoid installing the malware on their device.

 

Joker is a malware Trojan that primarily targets Android users. The malware interacts with users through apps. Google had removed around 11 Joker-infected apps from Play Store in July 2020 and removed 34 apps in October that year. As per the cybersecurity film Zcaler, the malicious apps had over 120,000 downloads.

 

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.

 

How does Joker Malware affect the apps?

 

Joker malware is ‘capable of interacting’ with several ad networks and web pages by simulating clicks and signing up users to fishy ‘premium services.’ The malware activates only when a user interacts with it via an infected app. The virus then goes past the device security and renders relevant information required by the hackers to steal money.  This is done by downloading a secured configuration from a command-and-control (C&C) server in the form of an app that is already infected by the trojan.

 

The hidden software then installs a follow-up component that steals SMS details and even contacts information and providing codes to the ad websites. The Week notes that authentication like OTPs is obtained by stealing SMS data. As per research reports, Joker keeps finding its way into Google’s official application market as a result of small changes to its code.

 

Be cautious about Joker Malware

 

The Joker malware is also quite relentless and manages to find its way back into the Google Play Store every few months. Essentially, this malware is always evolving making it almost impossible to boot out once and for all.

 

Users are advised to avoid downloading applications from third-party application stores or links provided in SMSs, emails, or WhatsApp messages and use a trusted antivirus to stay safe from Android malware.

 

For more interesting information, read our other blogs!

Written By

Nasrin Shareef

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