Published in Mobiles

Google bans 50 dodgy Android apps

by on21 July 2022

Beware the Joker 

Google has just banned another 50 applications from its Play Store with anyone who downloaded them before the block came into force facing their personal details being stolen, text messages intercepted and even being signed up for subscription plans they never wanted or actually use.

This latest batch of troublesome apps was discovered by the security team at Zscaler who found they all featured nasty malware including the Joker bug.

For those not in the know, 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.

Other apps shipped with the Coper malware infection which is capable of intercepting and sending SMS text messages, unlocking the device screen, preventing uninstalls and allowing attackers to take control and execute commands. Another threat found within the apps was Facestealer malware which is known for targeting Facebook users with fake Facebook login screens in a bid to steal user names and passwords.

Zscaler said: "Google Play Store is typically considered to be one of the safest sources for users to find and install android apps. However, threat actors continue to evolve their tactics and are able to successfully upload dangerous apps laced with malware on the Google play store.

"Recently, the Zscaler ThreatLabz team discovered apps involving multiple instances of the Joker, Facestealer, and Coper malware families spreading in the virtual marketplace. The ThreatLabz team immediately notified the Google Android Security team of these newly identified threats, and they promptly removed the malicious apps from the Google Play Store."


Last modified on 21 July 2022
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