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Security & privacy

Nasty malware spotted in 6 apps – delete these now

Has your phone been acting up recently? Are you experiencing sluggish performance or a surge of annoying popups? Have you noticed an unexplained uptick in your monthly Google Play statement? If so, you may have fallen victim to the latest batch of malware lurking in plain sight on Google’s app store.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s only because it keeps happening again and again. Google almost always does its due diligence and deletes offending programs once they’re discovered, but developers behind these apps are uploading them faster than it can handle. Tap or click here to see what nastiness was found in a previous batch.

And now, another group of malicious apps has been discovered that infects victims’ phones with fleeceware. If you have one of these apps on your device, it will sign you up for paid subscriptions behind your back and use your phone to fund its ad fraud endeavors. Thankfully, we have the full names and images of all the apps you need to remove right now.

Return of the Joker

According to a new security alert from Pradeo, the infamous Joker malware has somehow made its way on to the Google Play Store again in the form of six newly discovered fleeceware apps. These programs appear like ordinary apps at first, but once they’re installed, they quickly go to work signing victims up for subscription services without their permission.

Joker is no stranger to the Google Play Store, and unlike many of its contemporaries, it’s relatively hard to detect. This is because the malware uses as little code as possible and hides within the depths of your device — sometimes even deleting its own app icon in the process.

Tap or click here for more information on the Joker’s unique set of tricks.

Together, the malicious apps managed to rack up more than 200,000 installs before Google removed them from circulation. But anyone still with these apps on their device needs to take a moment to delete them before anything else can go awry.

As anyone who has experienced a fleeceware infection can tell you, ignoring the problem can become quite expensive.

Tap or click here to see how one fleeceware app netted more than $100 million in ill-gotten gains.

What apps do I need to remove from my device?

Pradeo has thankfully preserved images and names for all six of the malicious fleeceware apps in its update. If you have any of the following apps on your device, delete them immediately:

Safety AppLock

Convenient Scanner 2

Push Message-Texting&SMS

Emoji Wallpaper

Capture d’écran 2020-08-31 à 09.59.40
Source: Pradeo, Google Play

Separate Doc Scanner

Fingertip GameBox

As with previous instances, most of these apps appear to masquerade as ordinary tools before springing the trap on victims.

To uninstall the apps, open Settings on your device and find the menu option labeled Apps. Scroll through your apps and locate the entries from the list above. Then, tap on them to uninstall and delete them.

If you’re still having issues after deleting the apps, a factory reset is in order. Tap or click here to see how to complete a full factory reset on your Android phone.

But before you get started restoring, make sure to create a backup of all your most important data. We recommend you use our sponsor IDrive to create your backup, which will make sure it’s safe and encrypted in the cloud for you to re-download when you’re finished.

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