Google can't protect you from Joker malware, so it's time to delete these dangerous apps
The Android malware problem is as old as time, but despite Google's best efforts, the mobile platform's official Play Store remains ridden with constant threats. We're talking threats to everything from your phone's overall stability to your sensitive personal information, social media login credentials, and perhaps most vexingly of all, your bank account balance.
Of course, the most disturbing part may well be the fact that the same bad actors appear to repeatedly get away with different variations of the same nefarious tactics, shrewdly adapting to Google's increasingly sophisticated methods of fighting malicious apps to always come back stronger.
This particular Joker iteration is not as entertaining as it sounds
The search giant simply can't keep certain threats out of the Play Store, as evidenced in the latest Check Point report. The security firm's researchers have discovered yet another variant of "Joker", which they're describing as "one of the most prominent types of malware for Android", wreaking havoc on countless devices around the world, and although all 11 apps found to be guilty of a number of serious crimes were removed from Google Play by the end of April, the danger may not have been eliminated entirely.
The latest Android apps found to be infected with Joker malware
While the report doesn't name all of the apps in question as they might appear on your Android handsets, their published package names should give you a good idea of their marketed identity.
We're talking a pretty wide range of use cases here, including everything from an image compressing tool to a memory training game, flower-themed wallpaper collection, file recovery app, and some sort of a relaxation title.
If you remember installing anything sketchy that fits any of those descriptions, you should check your mobile and credit card bills for unauthorized purchases and especially shady subscriptions. That's the most common way this "Joker" malware rips you off, and unfortunately, getting your money back is usually pretty hard.
Unsubscribe, delete, and stay wary
What you can and absolutely should do is immediately unsubscribe from any "premium" services or platforms you don't recognize, and even more importantly, delete any and all suspicious apps from your phone as soon as possible. You can also (generally) avoid future security breaches by installing a reliable antivirus solution and hope that does a better job of detecting such threats than Google's Play Store protection algorithms, machine learning tools, and human experts.
Sadly, Check Point researchers fully expect Joker to continue lurking in the dark as we speak, modifying its shape and sneaky behavior to clear Google's obstacles and steal your hard-earned money, as well as everything from your text messages to contact lists and device information. All of that can and will be used against you in different ways, mind you, which highlights one thing. It's a scary mobile world out there, folks, and the only ones that can keep you out of danger are... your very selves.
Be careful what you download, and even if you exclusively use the Play Store for that, be on the lookout for what kind of information your apps can access, as well as your credit card balance. Trust no one, especially no-name developers behind apps with poor review scores.