By: Natasha Archary
Belgian police have warned Android users that the infamous “Joker virus” which targets Android devices, hiding in Google Play Store applications is back. The dangerous malware is capable of subscribing users to payment services without their authorisation and emptying bank accounts without them noticing.
The virus has been detected in 8 applications on the Play Store thus far which Google has since suppressed.
The malicious program was first detected in 2017 for infecting devices and robbing unsuspecting Android users of up to $7 per week. Since the malware was first detected Google has been monitoring it’s resurfacing and have scanned and removed over 1 700 applications to date.
So far, the Joker virus has been detected in 30 countries including the US, Brazil and Spain.
According to Google, the following Android apps should be deleted immediately:
- Super SMS
- Super Message
- Travel Wallpapers
- Go Messages
- Element Scanner
- Fast Magic SMS
- Free CamScanner
- Auxilary Message
Further reports by Entrepreneur shared insight from cybersecurity company Zscaler, cited by La Razón , made public the names of 16 other apps that, according to their analysis, also contain this malicious code:
- Private SMS
- Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
- Style Photo Collage
- Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
- Paper Doc Scanner
- All Good PDF Scanner
- Care Message
- Part Message
- Blue Scanner
- Direct Messenger
- One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
- Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
- Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
- Tangram App Lock
- Desire Translate
- Meticulous Scanner
Although the apps in question have been deleted from the Google Play Store, this does not mean that the apps will be automatically uninstalled from devices that had them installed. Android users are still recommended to uninstall the apps. There have been no reports that the Joker virus has hit South Africa but better safe than sorry.