Smartphone users urged to delete 8 apps over ‘Joker’ virus that can access texts

Smartphone users have been warned by police about eight popular apps which have been corrupted by a dangerous virus.
Google has deleted the affected apps from its Play Store and they remain blocked by Apple on its devices after finding evidence of “Joker” malware but android owners are being urged to delete them from their devices.

The resurfaced malware – first identified in 2019 – is capable of wreaking havoc on phones it infects, including installing hidden spyware and premium diallers which can sign-up to expensive monthly subscriptions.

Victims have previously found they’ve been charged over £240 a year for fraudulent plans.

( Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

According to researchers at cybersecurity company Quick Heal Security Lab, this latest Joker virus can gain access to text messages, contacts and a lot of other personal information on smartphones, reports the Daily Express.

In a warning, police in Belgium said: “Warning! The Joker virus is back in the Android environment.

“This malware has been spotted in 8 apps from the Play Store which have meanwhile been withdrawn by Google, but if you have already installed one, remove it as soon as possible.”

Hacker doing his crime on a desktop computer in broad daylight.
Android users have been warned not to click on alien links received through messages or any other social media platforms.

Here is the list of affected applications:
Auxiliary Message
Element Scanner
Fast Magic SMS
Free CamScanner
Go Messages
Super Message
Great SMS
Travel Wallpapers
Tips to keep your devices safe have also been issued.

( Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

They say download applications only from trusted sources like Google Play Store, and do not click on alien links received through messages or any other social media platforms.

Also turn off installation from the unknown source option, and read the pop-up messages you get from the Android system before accepting/allowing any new permissions.

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