The return of the Joker sounds like it should be the title of a Batman movie, but the truth is that Joker is the name of a strain of malware first used in 2017 and now, according to Belgian police, is making a harmful return.  This malware when downloaded on to your Android cell phone enables the criminal to sign you up for expensive services and authorize payments from your bank account or credit card.  This malware is found in legitimate apps that have been infected with the malware so even if you are getting your apps from the Google Play Store you cannot be sure that the app is not infected with this malware.  In 2017, Google removed 1,700 apps from the Google Play Store that were infected with the Joker malware.  Recently, the Joker malware was discovered in eight apps found in the Google Play Store.  These apps are Auxiliary Message, Element Scanner, Fast Magic SMS, FreeCamScanner, Go Messages, Super Message, Super SMS and Travel Wallpapers.  The cybersecurity company Zscaler has indicated that it found the Joker malware on 16 other apps.  Here is a link to Zscaler’s list of affected apps.


First of all, you should be careful where you get your apps from.  You are always better using official, legitimate app stores such as the Google Play Store which does a pretty good job of reviewing and vetting apps, however, as seen by the fact that so many apps found in the Google Play Store were infected with the app, you cannot depend on the Google Play Store or any other legitimate app source to be perfect which is why you also should have strong security software on all of your electronic devices including your phone and make sure that you install security patches as soon as they become available.  If you do have any of these infected apps on your phone, you should delete them immediately.

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