What Is Joker Malware? How Is It Affecting Apps On Google Play Store?

Blog Summary – Joker malware fools Android users by getting them subscribed to paid apps without their knowledge. 

Cybersecurity is one of the major problems in the digital world. The increasing number of attacks on various devices has put everyone on the target list. This time it’s the infamous Joker malware to make its comeback in the Google Play Store. It has been prevalent for the last few years and uses vulnerable apps to enter the Android device. So, if you are an Android user, this is a must-read for you as you might fall victim to Joker malware.

What is Joker Malware?

Joker malware tends to be as devious as the fictional character it is named after. It has been a known malware to steal contacts, get access to the SMS, and then ultimately making payments on behalf of the Android user. This works on Google Play Store to infiltrate your Android device and steal from you. Without the user’s permission, it will subscribe to the paid plans on other applications. This is a security breach and highly dangerous to who else gets access to your information.

It has been active for the past three years and follows various methods to get into Android devices. The main purpose of this malware is to sign up the user into premium services online without their permission.

Google Play Store has actively been sweeping malicious applications from its app store. But more such applications are reappearing in numbers and therefore it becomes quite difficult to trace them.

Common symptoms you might notice your Android device is affected by Joker malware –

  • Unknown applications appear on your phone.
  • Data usage increases.
  • Advertisements start to appear randomly.
  • Android application usage permissions are changed.

Also Read: 13 Ways To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

How does it enter your Android?

Joker malware searches for access to the device through an application present on Google Play Store, it can go untraced. There are multiple malicious applications present on the Google Play Store and this acts as the passage for the dangerous malware. Joker malware spies on your SMS and collects sensitive information such as OTP and makes payments to the subscription services online.

Users searching for applications such as Deluxe Keyboard and PDF Converter Scanner are mostly fall victim to it. As they are trying to hide among the vast pool of applications that are commonly used.

It is not like Google Play Store is unaware of the problem caused by Joker Malware. According to the experts, the minds behind the malware have been constantly changing patterns to ditch the Google Play services guidelines and submit the malicious applications.

Google Play Store
Image source – zscaler.com

Zsclaer’s ThreatLabz has been observing such applications on Google Play and they notified the Google Android Security team. They have taken preventative measures and removed the applications from the store.

What apps have Joker malware?

There are multiple apps on Google Play Store which are said to be infected with the joker malware. Here are the few which are discovered recently –

Free Affluent Message

Print Scanner

PDF Photo Scanner

delux Keyboard

Comply QR Scanner

PDF Converter Scanner

Font Style Keyboard

Translate Free

Saying Message

Private Message

Read Scanner

A total of 30000 installations have been suspected for all the above-said applications which are infected with the malware. These are the common purpose applications that are mostly searched on Google Play Store.

Although you should keep an eye on any suspicious activity on your phone. This has been very commonly seen in the Health & Fitness, Communication, Photography, Personalization, and Tools categories.

How malicious can it be?

How malicious can it be
Joker malware is capable of stealing personal information such as name, username, phone number, credit card number, and passwords. Therefore, it is highly dangerous for users to fall victim to cyber fraud, identity theft, ransomware. All the personal information makes it susceptible to further online crimes.

What can be done to save ourselves from malware?

Check out the important tips and tricks for downloading applications from Google Play Store –

  • Keep checking for any unidentified activity on your phone. Repeatedly check your phone settings for App permissions. Turn on notifications and constantly keep a check on your accounts.
  • Do not install suspicious applications. If you are unsure of an application, read reviews and research a bit before putting yourself in risky situations.
  • Do not click on any unknown links and share information with such applications.
  • Always use a good anti-malware application to safeguard your Android device from malware. Avast Antivirus & Security is one such application that actively scans the device for malicious files and links. It will provide you the necessary safety from the malicious elements trying to snoop on you to steal your data. It will send alerts for malicious links, apps, and unsafe WiFi networks. Helps you in keeping the data safe by providing locks for photos and applications.

Also Read: Worried About Personal Data? Here’s How You Can Protect It


The malicious elements behind the Joker malware are quite smart for using different techniques to enter the Google Play Store. Therefore, we must pay attention to all details before downloading an application on an Android device. It is important to look into the authorization and reviews for the application online before download. Such malware can be highly threatening to the public as it is capable of manipulating online transactions by stealing our information.

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