Police warn phone users to delete eight apps over ‘Joker’ software spyware fears

Cops have warned phone users to immediately remove eight apps from their devices – including programmes used for screen backgrounds and messaging – over fears of a dangerous Joker software.

The malicious malware can cause chaos on any device it infects and has the ability to install hidden spyware and create fraudulent subscriptions costing £240 every year.

Google has deleted the eight applications from its Play Store – but Auxiliary Message, Element Scanner, Fast Magic SMS, Free CamScanner, Go Messages, Super Message, Great SMS, and Travel Wallpapers may still remain on some devices.

The Joker virus can access lots of private information, including text messages and contacts, reports The Express.

But its main threat is financial and phones with the virus will subtly subscribe to websites that charge a subscription fee.

In a post on its website, Belgium police said: "Warning! The Joker virus is back in the Android environment.

“This malware has been spotted in eight apps from the Play Store which have meanwhile been withdrawn by Google, but if you have already installed one, remove it as soon as possible.”

How do you protect yourself from phone scams? Share your advice and see what others say in the comments below.

The dangerous software first emerged in 2019, but experts have warned phone users to be on their guard as it is making a devastating comeback.

Security boffins say they’ve seen a “large uptick” in apps bursting with nasty Joker malware.

Zimperium, a mobile security company, says that it has seen over 1,000 new samples of Joker since its last report on the problem back in 2020.

Cyber criminals are always adapting to find new ways to infiltrate stories with their virus.

"Joker trojans are malicious Android applications that have been known since 2017 for notoriously performing bill fraud and subscribing users to premium services," warned Zimperium.

"The outcome of a successful mobile infection is financial gain for the cybercriminal, often under the nose of the victim until long after the money is gone, with little to no recourse for recovery."

To stay safe, Android users should only download applications from trusted sources, never click on alien links received through messages, and read the pop-ups you get from the Android system before allowing any new permissions.

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