Google has removed 11 apps from the Play Store which were infected with the notorious Joker malware. Google has been tracking these apps since 2017.
Check Point researchers discovered a new variant of the Joker malware that was present inside legitimate apps. These hackers found a way to get users to subscribe to premium services without their knowledge. Since hackers developed this old way of getting inside apps they could pass Google Play’s protections.
The Joker malware has been found in 11 apps on the Play Store. Check Point said that Google has removed all these apps from its app store. Android users who may have any of these apps installed should get them removed immediately. The list of apps detected include –
com.cheery.message.sendsms (two different instances)
Check Point added that despite Google Play’s security features, the Joker malware is still very tricky to detect. And it may very well make it back to the Play Store.
Earlier this year, Google released a report where it said that it had detected and removed 1,700 malicious “Bread” apps from the Play Store. These Bread apps are ones with the Joker malware.
Google said that these apps were removed even before users could download it. The Joker malware has however been lurking around for a long time with Google tracking such apps since 2017.
“Joker adapted. We found it hiding in the “essential information” file every Android application is required to have. Our latest findings indicate that Google Play Store protections are not enough. We were able to detect numerous cases of Joker uploads on a weekly basis to Google Play, all of which were downloaded by unsuspecting users. The Joker malware is tricky to detect, despite Google’s investment in adding Play Store protections. Although Google removed the malicious apps from the Play Store, we can fully expect Joker to adapt again. Everyone should take the time to understand what Joker is and how it hurts everyday people,” said Aviran Hazum, Manager of Mobile Research.