Tech

As Google bans 8 dangerous Android apps, police warn users to delete them now

There’s a fresh Android warning that’s just been announced and this is one you definitely don’t want to ignore. Police in Belgium have confirmed that Google recently deleted eight apps from its Play Store with users now advised to remove them from their devices without delay. These applications are all thought to contain the dangerous Joker malware which is capable of wreaking havoc on any phone it infects.

Once installed, Joker has the ability to install hidden spyware and premium dialers onto devices, which can then sign-up unsuspecting users to expensive monthly subscription plans.

In the past, some victims have found themselves paying in excess of £240 a year for these fraudulent subscriptions.

In a post on its website, Belgium police said, “Warning! The Joker virus is back in the Android environment. This malware has been spotted in 8 apps from the Play Store which have meanwhile been withdrawn by Google, but if you have already installed one, remove it as soon as possible. 

According to researchers at cybersecurity company Quick Heal Security Lab, this later Joker virus can gain access to text messages, contacts and a lot of other information on smartphones.

READ MORE: Millions of Microsoft Word, Outlook and Powerpoint users lose access to apps next month

Zimperium says that it has witnessed over 1,000 new samples of Joker since its last report on the problem back in 2020. And the company is warning that cyber thieves have routinely found new and unique ways to get this malware into both official and unofficial app stores.

“Joker trojans are malicious Android applications that have been known since 2017 for notoriously performing bill fraud and subscribing users to premium services,” explained Zimperium. “The outcome of a successful mobile infection is financial gain for the cybercriminal, oftentimes under the nose of the victim until long after the money is gone, with little to no recourse for recovery.”

Here are some top tips to keep your Android phone safe from attack

• Download applications only from trusted sources like Google Play Store

• Do not click on alien links received through messages or any other social media platforms

• Turn off installation from the unknown source option

• Read the pop-up messages you get from the Android system before accepting/allowing any new permissions


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