Android Smartphone Users: Beware of These 8 Applications with ‘Joker’ Malware
(Photo : Getty Image: Sean Gallup)

Several Google Play Store apps are laced with "Joker" malware, an extremely dangerous variant. 

This specific malware carefully sneaks into an Android user's device using various applications that collect data without permission. The malware secretly subscribes the users to random premium subscriptions without their knowledge and consent.

How Dangerous is the 'Joker' Malware?

Out of all the malware strains, the "Joker" strain is considered one of the most dangerous variations. It initially hampers an Android device's function.

According to Live Mint, the "Joker" malware is known for being a data stealer -- it secretly collects data without a user's consent. Personal data such as SMS, OTPs, phone database, passwords, and others are gathered without users' knowledge.

The "Joker" malware could also change and evolve itself to bypass the security norms set up by Google Play Store. It can create new versions of itself that can easily prevent Google's database from identifying it as malware.

Read Also: Malware Discovered to Stop Victims From Pirating Software

How Does the 'Joker' Malware Steal Data?

The "Joker" malware, sometimes called "Joker Trojan," steals information from its victims' devices through the contact list, SMS messages, and device info. 

The malware silently interacts with random advertising websites and subscribes the victims to multiple premium services without their consent.

According to Quick Heal Security Labs, applications with the "Joker" malware will ask the user for notification access to get notified for every notification that the user will receive.

Afterward, the application will take SMS data from the notifications that it will receive, and then ask for Contacts access.

Once the access has been given, the app will ask for phone call permission. Lastly, it will continue to work without letting the user suspect any malicious activity.

Quick Heal also claim that numerous malware authors are responsible for spreading these malicious applications throughout the Google Play Store database.

The 'Joker' Malware

The "Joker" malware has been seen in numerous apps readily available in Google Play Store. For the past three years, these apps have been collecting the personal data of users.

Quick Heal Security Labs recently reported that they spotted eight "Joker" malware on Google Play Store. 

The "Joker" malware hides itself in the form of message applications, wallpaper applications, and scanner applications. 

The following applications were reported to Google, and have already been removed from the Play Store:

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

If you have downloaded any of these apps, make sure to remove them immediately.

Users need to be extra vigilant in downloading such applications because their private information is at risk. To ensure that an app is credible, the user can verify its performance through Google Play Store's review portion.

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Written by Fran Sanders

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