Police probing origins of money-stealing 'Joker' malware: Details here
Officials from the Maharashtra Police are looking into the origins of a dangerous new malware called 'Joker'. The malicious program first surfaced last year, but now, its advanced, more complex version has shown up, affecting nearly a dozen seemingly legitimate apps and stealing money, and possibly other data, through them. Here is all you need to know about it.
What is Joker malware?
A few days back, a report from Check Point detailed the new variant of the Joker malware, hiding in 11 seemingly legitimate applications. The apps worked normally and performed functions like downloading wallpapers, compressing images, and recovering files, but the malware worked in the background and downloaded tools to subscribe the target to premium services, thereby stealing money from their accounts without their consent.
Now, Maharashtra Police are looking into the case
In light of the whole issue, the Maharashtra Cyber Department is looking to trace down the creators of this malware. "Eleven apps, based on research, were identified to have been infected with the notorious Joker malware," said MCD's special inspector general, Yashasvi Yadav. "Joker can transfer money without the user's knowledge and can be used to steal data, identity particulars."
How it tricks users
"The malware first simulates interaction with advertisements without the victims' knowledge; then, [it] accesses the victims' SMS messages to get OTP details sent for authentication to approve payments," an MCD source told Mumbai Mirror.
Infected apps have to be removed from phones
The infected applications, whose package names are available on Check Point's website, have been purged from the Google Play Store. However, if someone had installed the programs on their phone, they would have to remove them manually. For this, look for shady apps lining up with those package names on your phone, and if something comes up, uninstall it immediately.
Also, check for subscriptions
Along with uninstalling the sketchy apps, it is also recommended to check credit card and mobile bills to find and unsubscribe any premium service that has been purchased without consent. This will ensure that your money is not deducted in the future. Also, for further protection, install a reliable antivirus program and make sure to install only credible apps from recognized developers.
Remember: Joker could show up again
Even though the infected apps have been removed, researchers expect that the malware could show up again on the Play Store, with a code modified to bypass Google's detection systems. This could only end if cops manage to track down the threat actors behind the malware, although, as of now, there are no details around that.