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Security & privacy

Bad app alert: This fake smart TV remote is really malware

There are thousands of mobile apps available on various app stores that make our lives a lot easier. From household automation to virtual assistants, there are fewer things that we need to get up off the couch from. Tap or click here for seven apps that can clean up your Android in minutes.

There are also apps that you can use to control your television. The TV remote is one of those gadgets that seemingly disappear the moment you are looking for it. If that’s a daily battle you face, you might have downloaded an app to control your smart TV remotely.

It seems like a good idea, but if you downloaded this specific app, your details might be in danger of being exposed to hackers.

Here’s the backstory

A Kaspersky security researcher recently discovered an Android app that has malware embedded into its code. Hiding in plain sight, the ‘Smart TV remote’ app harbors the devastating Joker malware.

It has been downloaded over 1,000 times in just two weeks, putting all its users at risk. This dangerous malware variant has been around since 2017, and over 1,700 Android apps have already been removed from the Google Play Store for harboring it.

Joker is highly efficient, as it can be installed on a device without the user’s knowledge. Once activated, it can steal personal information, access and copy your contact list and monitor text messages.

In August this year, 24 more apps were revealed to have Joker malware, and there seems to be no end in sight of the spread.

What you can do about it

Having malware installed on your mobile phone is incredibly dangerous. You must be careful where you download apps from and only do so from official app stores. It’s also a good idea to remove unused apps to clear space on your device.

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.

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