JOKER MALWARE on Android is Not Something to Laugh About

09/10/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Almost half a million people have downloaded an app that contains the Joker Malware and their bank balance is paying the price. Here’s how to know you’re safe.


Every now and then, a malware pops up on Android that makes users shake their head and wish they’d opted for an iPhone instead. The Android OS is more open than iOS is and this means that it is, unfortunately, more prone to malware attacks.

Google does a good job of keeping the Play Store free of malware infected apps, and it’s constantly making updates to Android security to meet the latest threats, but of course some slip through the net without them knowing until it’s too late.


The latest such threat is called Joker malware and it creates subscription plans for users by entering their SMS and verifying subscription codes without the user’s consent. This can leave you paying out for massive subscriptions every month when you never intended to do so. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs, but it’s one that Android users have been forced to put up with.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what Joker malware is and how you can tell if you’ve been infected by it. We’ll also go over how to get rid of it and how to prevent future malware from infecting your device.

What is Joker malware?

Joker malware for Android is what you’d call a Trojan horse. It slips onto your device inside an app so you have no idea that you ever installed it, then it gets to work undermining you security, or in this case, stealing your money.


Countries affected by Joker Malware.

The malware is found in a total of 24 apps that have been downloaded more than 470,000 times in total. Google has since removed them all from the Play Store, but in case you’re wondering, these are the apps: Advocate Wallpaper

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

If you recognize any of them on your device, then it’s important that you delete them immediately as they all contain the virus. Also, you’ll want to check your subscriptions on the Play Store to make sure that you haven’t been signed up to pay for anything by the malware without your knowledge. While you’re at it, change your password for good measure (although, there was no evidence that the malware could get hold of your password details).


How to protect against malware on Android

You want to make sure that your phone is always secure from malware attacks. Seeing as Android is an open platform, it’s much easier for malware to infect the devices that run off of it. Oftentimes, older devices don’t run on the latest version of Android, which means that they aren’t geared to protect against the latest threats. What’s more, Google and known to be more lenient with what can go on the Play Store than Apple is about the App Store.


With iOS, you can only download apps from the official Apple App Store and the automatic iOS updates will scan for irregularities and delete any that it finds. This means that your device is generally much more secure on iOS than it is on Android.

For this reason, you’ll need to install a reliable antivirus software from a major brand that you know and trust. The best ones to go for are AVG, Avast, and McAfee. These are all famous and well known and will have millions of reviews to confirm that they’re the real deal. Always check the app developer to make sure that it is official.

Once you’ve got an antivirus, you’ll want to run a full scan on your device to ensure that you don’t already have a malware infection. On top of this, you’ll want to set automatic scans for every few days to make sure that nothing ever does find its way onto your device.

Things to avoid for security reasons

In general, it’s best to avoid ever installing wallpaper apps on Android. They’re generally scams and they try to collect your personal data. If you subscribe to one then you could end up paying up to hundreds of dollars per month – so be careful.


On top of that, never install a free VPN. It costs a lot of money to run a VPN server, so if it’s being offered for free then you know that you are the product! You’re also handing over tons of data to the VPN company and trusting that they won’t look at it or sell it on to third parties – so only ever use established ones like ExpressVPN.

Avoid installing any ‘shady’ looking app that doesn’t have many downloads or just seems to look tacky. There are so many developers out there trying to make a quick buck and some of them will join the dark side.

Consider installing a VPN

A VPN masks your IP address, but it also provides an extra layer of security when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi networks and encrypts all your data so no one can steal it while it’s flying around the web.  This is an effective way to keep yourself secure. A good VPN costs around $5 per month and is a worthwhile investment. They can usually be installed on up to three devices at once. As mentioned above: never use a free VPN!

The wrap-up

The Joker malware on Android is another classic example of thieves trying to make some quick money at the expense of honest, hard-working people. It’s a dirty scam and one that we really hope you weren’t affected by. Take note of our security tips and make sure that you’re always ahead of the curve when it comes to online and mobile security. Good luck!

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