Earlier last month, nasty malware was making the rounds, giving hackers access to all kinds of personal information. Called Joker, it was embedded into several Android apps and overwrote the operating system’s notifications.
While working in the background, you wouldn’t even know your phone has been infected. After its discovery, the malware somewhat disappeared with all the affected apps pulled from the Google Play Store.
But it seems the sigh of relief was short-lived, as it has once again made its appearance on the Play Store. Here is what you need to look out for and how to stay safe.
Here’s the backstory
Security researchers hoped that the malware was gone for good, but the Belgian Police recently warned against a resurgence. Taking to social media, the law enforcement agency echoed what made the malware so dangerous in July.
In fact, the Joker virus has been coming and going for at least four years, first detected in 2017. Media reports suggest that over 1,700 Android apps have been removed from the Google Play Store, suspected of harboring the virus.
The malware is extremely dangerous as it infiltrates your phone without your knowledge. It has the ability to steal personal information, access and copy your contact list and monitor your text messages.
What you can do about it
There were 24 malicious apps discovered recently that are hiding Joker malware. If you have any of the apps in question installed on your device, remove them immediately!
Apps that have been confirmed to have Joker malware include:
- Auxiliary Message
- Element Scanner
- Fast Magic SMS
- Free CamScanner
- Go Messages
- Super Message
- Super SMS
- Travel Wallpapers
- 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
These apps have been removed from the Google Play Store since they were hiding Joker malware. Again, if you have any of these apps on your device, delete them immediately.
Here is how to find and delete apps on Android:
- Open the Google Play Store app.
- At the top right, tap the profile icon.
- Tap Manage apps & devices and then Installed.
- Go through the list of displayed applications.
- Next to the app you want to remove, tap Uninstall.
Also, the infected app could still be available for download from third-party app stores. You should only download apps from the official Google Play Store since it has a more strict vetting process than third-party app stores.