Google removes 17 apps from Play Store which posed threat to user safety

Google Play Store

 Google has found 17 apps to be contained with the Joker malware and hence, removed them.

A malware named Joker Malware has been found in these apps which have been banned from Play Store.

“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,” Zcaler’s Viral Gandhi explained in the post. Zcaler was the one who reported this issue to Google.

The 17 apps removed by Google were 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 and All Good PDF Scanner.

Image Source : The Economic Times

Users who have these apps installed on their phones have been advised to immediately delete them. The Joker malware isn’t something new. It is annoying Google for quite some time now. Earlier this month, Google removed six apps that had this malware and it had nearly 2 lakh installs.

Google’s security team constantly works to keep apps containing this malware away from the Play Store. The Android Security & Privacy Team had detailed its efforts to tackle the malware, stating that it had removed over 1700 apps containing the malware by the beginning of this year. We don’t know yet whether Google will ever get rid of this Joker malware.

The team also said that they started tracking this joker malware from 2017.  Initially, it was used for SMS fraud but with time its evil roots spread in other domains. But with time even the Play Store’s defenses have improved. . They have at some point used just about every cloaking and obfuscation technique under the sun in an attempt to go undetected. Many of these samples appear to be designed specifically to attempt to slip into the Play Store undetected and are not seen elsewhere.

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