By Pallavi Mitra

The Joker malware, which had created a major mobile security crisis last year, has been reported to have hit again. This time, a new strain of the malware has been spotted by Pradeo, a mobile security solutions firm, to have started infecting the Google Play Store. Despite all of Google’s efforts last year, the malware has managed to make a

comeback through making a bypass to the security measures taken.

Tatyana Shishkova, who is an analyst from the cyber security firm Kaspersky, found the Joker malware having infected around 14 Android apps at least. Since its discovery in 2017, it has made it a challenge for Google to tackle. According to Pradeo, applications like Color Message which is used by 5 lakh people, have become the latest to be hit by malware. This application seems to be making connections to Russian servers.

The Joker malware falls under the ‘Fleeceware’ category, and its end game is to steal your money without your

notice. It simulates clicks and intercepts text messages or SMS, subscribing you to unwanted paid premium services

without taking any permission. It can also click on ads automatically when online. The SMS interception allows it to read OTPs directly to then secretly approve online payments. It will go completely under the radar of a regular user, until one checks their bank statements. You will end up paying for online apps or services unbeknownst to you.

Pradeo has found that the following apps are currently infected by this malware:

1. Color Message

2. Safety AppLock

3. Convenient Scanner 2

4. Push Message-Texting&SMS

5. Emoji Wallpaper

6. Separate Doc Scanner

7. Fingertip GameBox

It is advisable to remove these apps immediately from your phone in order to protect it.

Pallavi is an intern with TechGig.