Google Play just can’t catch a break, can it? After numerous incidents of malware-infected applications in the past year alone, you’d think that the platform would get its act together and enact some strict moderation to keep scammers and hackers at bay. But alas, other than deleting problematic apps, Google doesn’t seem too keen on pursuing additional steps to keep users safe.
And sure enough, an entirely new string of malware-infected apps have been identified on the Google Play Store. Not only was the malware embedded in several popular applications with thousands of downloads, it even signed users up for subscriptions without their permission and charged them each month for services they didn’t even know about.
If you downloaded anything from the Google Play Store recently, we have a complete list of the apps you need to delete from your phone right this second. Otherwise, you might be in for a few surprise charges this month that you weren’t expecting.
Enter “The Joker”
24 popular apps have been identified on the Google Play Store to be hiding an aptly named malware called “Joker.” According to a Medium post from cybersecurity researcher Aleksejs Kuprins, many of these apps were available long before the malware’s activities had even officially started, which brings up questions as to the true intentions of the apps’ developers.
The Joker malware, when installed on a phone, mostly runs in the background and signs users up for subscription services that they will never see nor use. It also traffics in ad-click fraud, like many others of its ilk, and makes money off of its victim’s bandwidth.
Interestingly, Joker only seems to target specific phones from specific countries, and requires a domestic SIM card from its list of targeted nations in order to function properly. The countries affected include several European and Asian countries, but the U.S., sadly, isn’t left out of the Joker’s mayhem this time around.
Which apps do I need to delete?
Since Americans were targeted in this malware sweep, there’s a complete list of apps you should delete from your phone just to be safe.
The following apps are security risks, and could be putting your personal data and finances at risk:
- Advocate Wallpaper
- Age Face
- Altar Message
- Antivirus Security – Security Scan
- Beach Camera
- Board picture editing
- Certain Wallpaper
- Climate SMS
- Collate Face Scanner
- Cute Camera
- Dazzle Wallpaper
- Declare Message
- Display Camera
- Great VPN
- Humour Camera
- Ignite Clean
- Leaf Face Scanner
- Mini Camera
- Print Plant scan
- Rapid Face Scanner
- Reward Clean
- Ruddy SMS
- Soby Camera
- Spark Wallpaper
If you have downloaded any of these programs, it’s in your best interest to delete them as soon as possible. In addition, it may be wise to consider updating or restoring your Android phone in order to be 100% safe.
Until Google does something about its increasingly unsafe app store, though, can we ever really feel 100% safe?