Mon | Sep 28, 2020 | 2:59 PM PDT

Google has removed 17 apps from its Google Play store due to malware known as Joker.

The Joker malware family is infamous for constantly targeting Android devices. Even though Google is very much aware of this cyber threat, it manages to keep finding its way into their official application market. It accomplishes this by changing its code, execution methods, or payload-retrieving techniques.

A Zscaler research team has been monitoring Joker malware and notified Google of the recent uploads to the Google Play store. Here is what they had to say about the malware itself:

"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."

The research team identified 17 different samples uploaded to the store in September 2020. In total, there were around 120,000 downloads of the affected apps.

Infected Google Play apps removed from store

Here is a list of the apps removed from the Google Play store:

  • 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

Security researchers are making some recommendations for those who use these apps or the Google Play store:

"We recommend paying close attention to the permission list in the apps that you install on your Android device. Always watch out for the risky permissions related to SMS, call logs, contacts, and more."

They also recommend you read the comments and reviews on the app page, which can help identify infected apps.