Joker Malware Spotted Once Again On Google Play: Should You Worry?

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Android apps disguised as malware have been spotted a couple of times, where unsuspecting users have subscribed to its premium services without realizing its true nature. A report by Check Point research has revealed another malware, infamously called Joker, which has bypassed Google Play's protections.

Joker Malware Spotted Once Again On Google Play: Should You Worry?

 

Joke Malware On Google Play

Joker malware is one of the tricky ones that are hard to detect. The malicious DEX executable inside the application comes with Base64 encoded strings. These are then decoded and loaded on smartphones in the form of an app.

The Joker malware isn't something new and was first discovered in 2017. It is one of the most prevalent Android malware found primarily in billing frauds. It's even capable of getting your SMS messages, contact lists, and other device information.

In order to keep the Joker malware hidden, creators have resorted to a variety of techniques, like encryption to hide strings to avoid being spotted, present fake reviews to attract users, and more. They also upload a clean version of the app on Google Play to build the trust of users and then sneak in the malware via app updates.

Google Play Store Removes Apps

Following the report by Check Point researchers, 11 apps in question were removed from the Google Play Store. The report further notes that Google Play keeps updating the Google Play Protect and upped its security infrastructure. This further forces such malware to search for gaps on the platform.

At the same time, this isn't the first time that malware like Joker has found their way into Google Play. As of January 2020, Google has removed more than 1,700 apps submitted to the Play Store over the past three years that had been infected with the malware.

"Although Google removed the malicious apps from the Play Store, we can fully expect Joker to adapt again," says Aviran Hazum from Check Point, who identified the Joke malware. No matter the number of positive reviews on Google Play, users have to be wary of everything they download. Despite some apps being fully verified by Google, it could still pose a threat to your device and your data.

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