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Google Removes 17 Android apps from Playstore that contains Malware

You need to remove these apps in case you have them installed

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Google has officially removed 17 Android applications that were infected by malware from the official PlayStore. The 17 applications, spotted by security researchers from Zscaler, were infected with the Joker (Bread) malware which is one of the most notorious security threats Google has been dealing with since 2017. This malware has the capability of stealing your SMS Messages, contacts list and your device information which makes it very dangerous.

“Joker is one of the most prominent malware families that continually targets Android devices. Despite awareness of this particular malware, it keeps finding its way into Google’s official application market by employing changes in its code, execution methods, or payload-retrieving techniques. 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.

Our Zscaler ThreatLabZ research team has been constantly monitoring the Joker malware. Recently, we have seen regular uploads of it onto the Google Play store. Once notified by us, the Google Android Security team took prompt action to remove the suspicious apps (listed below) from the Google Play store. 

This prompted us to evaluate how Joker is so successful at getting around the Google Play vetting process. We identified 17 different samples regularly uploaded to Google Play in September 2020. There were a total of around 120,000 downloads for the identified malicious apps.”  Zscaler security researcher Viral Gandhi said in a blog post.

 

The names of the 17 apps that were affected are:

  • All Good PDF Scanner
  • Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
  • Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
  • Tangram App Lock
  • Direct Messenger
  • Private SMS
  • One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
  • Style Photo Collage
  • Meticulous Scanner
  • Desire Translate
  • Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
  • Care Message
  • Part Message
  • Paper Doc Scanner
  • Blue Scanner
  • Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
  • All Good PDF Scanner

Following this research by Zscaler, Google took an action and removed all the 17 apps that were infected from the Playstore and used the Play Protect service to disable the apps on infected devices. However, you still need to check your Android device in case you had these apps installed and remove the apps manually. For more information about Joker Malware, check Zscaler post on it.

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