Joker: the malware that hacks SMS messages infects 500k users of these 24 Android apps

Bad news for Android users is not stopping. This time, ethical hacking experts report the emergence of a new malware variant that has managed to infiltrate more than twenty android apps, all available on the Google Play Store.

This variant of malware, dubbed “Joker”, was developed to enroll victims in various Premium subscription services. The worst part is that infected users won’t even notice any hint of anomalous activity until the charges for these subscriptions are reflected in their bank statements.

Ethical hacking specialist Aleksejs Kuprins describes how this malware works: “Joker works by automating the necessary interaction with the provider of these subscription services, entering the phone operator’s offer code and waiting for a SMS message with a confirmation code, which will be extracted by hackers and sent to the website of the Premium service, thus authorizing the subscription”.

This malware has shown significant activity in Europe, especially in Denmark, where Joker has inadvertently managed to inscribe thousands of victims in a service costing almost €7 a week.

Although Google was notified of this incident, and the infected apps have already been removed from the Play Store, they managed to accumulate nearly 480k total downloads. Below is the list of the 24 applications that contain the Joker malware:

  • Spark Wallpaper
  • Soby Camera
  • Ruddy SMS
  • Reward Clean
  • Rapid Face Scanner
  • Print Plant scan
  • Mini Camera
  • Leaf Face Scanner
  • Ignite Clean
  • Humour Camera
  • Great VPN
  • Display Camera
  • Declare Message
  • Dazzle Wallpaper
  • Cute Camera
  • Collate Face Scanner
  • Climate SMS
  • Certain Wallpaper
  • Board picture editing
  • Beach Camera
  • Antivirus Security – Security Scan
  • Altar Message
  • Age Face
  • Advocate Wallpaper

For users who have downloaded any of these applications, ethical hacking specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) recommend removing them immediately. Reviewing activity on your bank accounts looking for any anomalous charges is also a recommended measure.