Google Bans Six Apps With Joker Malware From Play Store

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Back in 2017, Google identified Bread aka Joker, a large-scale billing fraud family that identifies apps designed especially for SMS fraud. Now, it looks like the notorious Joker malware has once again turned up on the Google Play store. This has been identified after the ban was imposed on 11 apps infected with the malware in July this year.

Google Bans Six Apps With Joker Malware From Play Store

 

In a recent move, a cybersecurity firm Pradeo has identified six new apps that have been infected with Joker malware. These apps found on the Play Store have been banned by Google and are claimed to have witnessed nearly 200,000 downloads.

Six Apps Banned By Google

The six apps infected by Joker malware and turned malicious are Convenient Scanner 2, Safety AppLock, Emoji Wallpaper, Fingertip GameBox, Separate Doc Scanner, and Push Message - Texting & SMS. Google has removed these apps from the Play Store. If you are using any of these apps, then it is suggested that you uninstall them immediately.

In a blog post, Pradeo explained that Joker is a malicious bot and is categorized as a fleeceware. The major task of such malware is to simulate clicks and catch hold of SMSes to make sure users subscribe to unwanted paid premium services. What's notable is that all these happen without the user's consent. Joker uses minimal code and hides it to generate a discreet footprint, which is tricky to detect.

Earlier this year, a Google blog post stated that Play Store has come up with new policies and has scaled up defenses. Bread apps are forced to iterate continually to search for gaps. Also, these use every cloaking and obfuscation technique to go undetected. Eventually, many samples appear to be designed in such a way that these attempts to hide within the Play Store and not elsewhere.

 

Notably, this is not the first time that Google bans a slew of apps that are infected with malware. The company does this from time to time and it is a continual process to ensure the safety of its users.

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