Android warning as more than 500,000 users download app infected with Joker malware

A WARNING over an ‘infectious’ new Google Play app that holds notorious ‘joker’ malware has been issued by cyber experts.

The urgent notice comes after the dodgy app, known as Color Message, has been downloaded more than 500,000 times.  

The app, which has since been taken off the Google Play Store, allows users to personalise their device’s SMS messages.

But in reality, it’s just a front for nasty malware which has the potential to set off a chain of “unauthorised behaviour.”

According to zdnet, this includes generating malicious ads, subscribing users to unwanted pair premium services and sending their contact lists to hackers.

Cyber-experts at Pradeo's have since exposed the sinister app – identifying how it managed to bypass Google protocols.

"By using as little code as possible and thoroughly hiding it, Joker generates a very discreet footprint that can be tricky to detect," said Pradeo's Roxane Suau.

She added that it was not the first time that Joker has been detected in the Play Store recently as she urged all users to uninstall the app immediately.

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The fresh warning comes just weeks after several criminal Google apps – with the ability to hack your bank account – were reportedly affecting thousands of users online.

Cyber-experts at ThreatFabric described them as "highly sophisticated."

"Policing by Google has forced actors to find ways to significantly reduce the footprint of dropper apps," ThreatFabric explained.

"By introducing carefully planned small malicious code updates over a longer period in Google Play."

Cyber-experts also warn that the malware was so sophisticated that even virus detectors struggled to uncover their nefarious actions.

List of dangerous Android apps

Here's the list of apps as revealed by ThreatFabric…

  • Two Factor Authentication – com.flowdivision
  • Protection Guard – com.protectionguard.app
  • QR CreatorScanner – com.ready.qrscanner.mix
  • Master Scanner Live – com.multifunction.combine.qr
  • QR Scanner 2021 – com.qr.code.generate
  • QR Scanner – com.qr.barqr.scangen
  • PDF Document Scanner – Scan to PDF – com.xaviermuches.docscannerpro2
  • PDF Document Scanner – com.docscanverifier.mobile
  • PDF Document Scanner Free – com.doscanner.mobile
  • CryptoTracker – cryptolistapp.app.com.cryptotracker
  • Gym and Fitness Trainer – com.gym.trainer.jeux
  • Gym and Fitness Trainer – com.gym.trainer.jeux (reupload)

If any of these apps are installed on your Android phone, it's advised that users should delete them immediately.

Experts also add they should also consider changing their banking passwords, and checking their accounts for strange behaviour.

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