The ‘Joker’ Virus is Back on Android

Network security specialists are warning Android users about the return of the “Joker” virus, which hides itself in various applications in the Google Play Store. The malware subscribes users to payment services without their authorization. The virus became famous in 2017 when it began infecting different applications, and the Google Play Store had to remove 1,700 apps with the “Joker” malware.

More recently, the virus was found in 24 Android applications that were downloaded more than 500 thousand times before being removed affecting more than 30 countries including the United States. “This malicious program has been detected in eight Play Store applications that Google has suppressed,” says the Belgian authorities in a statement published last week.

The “Joker” Trojan virus belongs to a family of malware known as Bread. This virus can also enter text messages, contacts, and other information on the smartphone. The most dangerous aspect of the virus is that the malware has the ability to subscribe the affected user to paid services without authorization. Hackers facilitate the payment with the mobile phone bill, so users may not know they’ve been affected until they are hit with a large wireless bill.

So far, the applications affected by the “Joker” virus include, but are not limited to:

  • Element Scanner
  • Free CamScanner
  • Go Messages
  • Fast Magic SMS
  • Travel Wallpapers
  • Style Photo Collage
  • Hummingbird PDF Converter
  • Desire Translate

If you have recently installed any of these apps on your phone, delete them immediately. Additionally, you should:

  • Reset your Chrome web browser.
  • Uninstall any unwanted applications.
  • Turn on “Safe Mode.”
  • Check the data usage of various applications.
  • Install the latest software IT support updates.
  • Reset the phone to its default state.
  • Disable applications that have administrator privileges.

Mobile device protection should be a top personal and business priority in 2021. It is important to understand the most common threats to mobile devices and what precautions to take to protect yourself and your organization.