Dreadful ‘Joker’ Virus That Can Empty Bank Accounts Has Returned: Delete These Apps Right Now!

users may not even know their devices have been infected until their bank accounts are drained empty by the virus.

users may not even know their devices have been infected until their bank accounts are drained empty by the virus.

Joker Virus Can Empty Bank Accounts. Delete These Apps Right Now

The infamous Joker virus which first surfaced in various apps on Google Play in 2017, makes a return and users may not even know their devices have been infected until their bank accounts are drained empty by the virus. The return of the infamous Joker was spotted by Belgian police who warned that it attacks only Android devices and hides in copious apps available on the Google marketplace known as Play Store. On its official website, the Belgian Police said, "This malicious program has been detected in eight Play Store applications that Google has suppressed."

They also advised consumers against adding their bank cards; "You risk a big surprise at the end of the month in your bank account or on your credit card."

History of the Joker Virus

This Virus first gained prominence in 2017 for its unparalleled ability to rob the people blind by hiding in different applications. Google being classy as always, took action against the virus tad too late resulting in a huge number of victims to the virus, google removed more than 1,700 apps infected by the virus from the play store to prevent more users from being infected.

How does it actually work?

Quite simply, the virus subscribes users to payment services without their consent and slowly empties their bank account. The Joker virus is from the family of malware known as Bread, which hacks mobile devices running on Android. It targets bills and authorizes operations without the user's knowledge. Researchers of the cybersecurity from the Quick heal security lab revealed that the Joker virus can get into text messages, contacts and other information available on the infected device. This malicious program is extremely dangerous because it can let owners of the infected device subscribe to paid services, usually the most expensive or Premium services, without their consent. In most cases, the victims become aware of the theft only when they review their account statements in detail.

Google Play security

Eight such infected apps have already been removed by the google play store as of now, these apps include; Auxiliary Message, Element Scanner, Fast Magic SMS, Free CamScanner, Go Messages, Super Message, Super SMS and Travel Wallpapers. According to the cybersecurity company Zscaler, 16 more apps in the google store may be containing the malicious code, and the apps which are suspected to have been infected by the virus are as follows:

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

In September 2020, the joker virus was detected in 24 applications that were available on the google play store and it was estimated that over 500,000 devices had downloaded these apps before the apps were removed from the play store until the end of September. The September Joker attack affected over 30 countries including the United States, Spain, and Brazil. It is feared that the numbers in the current attack have only shot up.

How to stay safe from the Joker virus

The best course of action for the android users is to delete these aforementioned apps from their devices to reduce the risk of getting their devices infected. While Google has already removed some of the apps, it does not mean that they will be automatically deleted from Android devices. In addition, packing your device with anti-malware can go a long way to protect against viruses, and if you’re being extra cautious, simply check the authenticity of the application online before hitting install. Google also provides banners to apps it has personally verified - make it a point to only download those applications.

by Talha Shaikhani