Google Play Store Apps with Joker Malware Identified

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Over the past years, Google has tried all measures to protect and secure its Play Store, however, despite such strict defense, dangerous apps developed by mischievous actors can still freely mess around with the store. They can easily blend these nasty apps with the authentic ones, tricking users into downloading it. These malicious activities impose threats to the users of the Google Play Store and the Android store itself. This leads to the question: is Google not doing enough?

Out of all these threats, the most up-to-date is the malware nicknamed as ‘the Joker’ –the legendary lunatic villain in Batman. It is found out that Joker had attached itself to a total of 24 Android apps, and these apps can be downloaded from Google Play Store. But as expected from Google, their team was able to remove the apps in its store. The unfortunate thing is, they were already downloaded and installed in over half a million times before they were taken down. As of now, the number of people at risk is still unidentified.

Infected apps

Here is the list of apps that contain the Joker malware and if by chance you downloaded it, immediately uninstall it from your phone for safety measures:

  1. Age Face
  2. Antivirus Security – Security Scan
  3. Certain Wallpaper
  4. Collate Face Scanner
  5. Dazzle Wallpaper
  6. Display Camera
  7. Humour Camera
  8. Leaf Face Scanner
  9. Print Plant scan
  10. Soby Camera
  11. Advocate Wallpaper
  12. Altar Message 
  13. Beach Camera
  14. Reward Clean
  15. Board picture editing
  16. Climate SMS
  17. Cute Camera
  18. Declare Message
  19. Great VPN
  20. Ignite Clean
  21. Mini Camera
  22. Rapid Face Scanner
  23. Ruddy SMS

The modus operandi

Cyber Attack Google Play
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Joker was exposed by Aleksejs Kuprins, a security researcher who determined that the malware is created to rob money out of the users by offering premium subscription services. To carry out this modus, the victims will be asked to sign up. Generally, these apps have background components that secretly click the advertisement that circulates within the app, and it repeats the same process during the sign-up procedure on the site. After that, it goes through the users SMS messages and replicates the authorization code sent to verify the payment for premium subscription service.

Furthermore, Kuprins added that the virus is planning to spread in over 37 countries, including Australia, UK, EU, US, and Asian countries, though some of the apps have no regional limitation and can target users from all parts of the world.

The 24 identified apps are the only ones that are discovered recently, so there could be more out there. Despite this, Kuprins says that Google has been doing its best to eliminate all of the apps mentioned above and are still on the lookout for other possible damaging apps. This being said, it won’t be long until Trojan powered apps are busted, mainly because the tech giant doesn’t let these problems get away that easily.

On a final note, if you installed one of the apps mentioned above, it’s better to check your transaction history after you uninstalled them, making sure that no illicit subscription payments were made under your account.