According to the security company Zscaler, some apps were infected with the Joker malware. The Zscaler security researcher, Viral Gandhi said this week
“This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, along with silently signing up the victim for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services”
This malware steals SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, but the most serious threat it poses to users is automatic sign-ups to premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services. With WAP billing, users get a shock next time they receive their mobile phone bill as the service costs are charged directly to it.
The Joker malware circumvents the Google Play app vetting process through a combination of code tweaks, execution method variation, and changes to how it downloads the payload allowing it to function, steal information, and trigger the WAP service sign-ups. Google has removed those infected apps from the Play Store and disabled them on devices where they are installed, thought to be about of 120,000 devices. The list of apps includes:
- All Good PDF Scanner
- Blue Scanner
- Care Message
- Desire Translate
- Direct Messenger
- Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
- Meticulous Scanner
- Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
- One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
- Paper Doc Scanner
- Part Message
- Private SMS
- Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
- Tangram App Lock
- Style Photo Collage
- Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
According to the ZDNet report, the only thing Google cannot do, is remove the (now disabled) apps from a device. This task is left up to the users, so if you have any of those apps installed in your phone, it is highly recommended to uninstall them but how to do it? Simple, we show you how to do it:
- Open Settings on your device and click on Apps.
- Find the app in the list above and tap uninstall.
- Repeat the process if you have more than one of the apps listed above installed.
Since the Joker malware is so difficult to thwart, it seems unlikely that this is the last time we hear about infected apps being removed from the Play store. If you’re not sure about installing a new app, a quick search for the app name might reveal whether or not it’s safe, but it’s not guaranteed
For more information visit ZDnet.com
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