Here’s another ‘Joker warning’ for Android smartphone users. One of the most-persistent malware (type of virus) found in Android smartphones has been detected in another app that has been downloaded 500,000-plus times on Google Play Store. Research company Pradeo recently wrote in a blog post that a mobile application called Color Message infected with Joker malware is currently available for download on Google Play and was installed by more than half a million users.
Google has since removed the app. Android smartphone users need to note that Google removing the app from Google Play Store means that it will no longer be able to trap new users. However, the users who have already downloaded the app need to remove it on their own from their phones. Google removing it from Play Store does not mean that the app will go away from the 500,000-plus devices where it has been downloaded.
What is Color Message app
The Color Message app claims to offer users the ability to jazz up their messages with range of customisation options. “It makes texting easy, fun and beautiful. Customize the theme quickly. The Color Message application has unique technology that can help you personalize your default SMS messenger,” read the app’s description before it was removed by Google. Surprisingly, the app reportedly also had 1,800+ reviews with an average rating of four stars. There were also reviews that called the app scam app.
What exactly Joker malware do
Joker is one of the most troublesome Android malware. Categorized as Fleeceware app, it steal SMS messages, contact lists and device information, in addition to signing users up for premium service subscriptions without their knowleadge. It simulates clicks and can intercept SMSes, including users banking messages. In the last few years, the Joker malware has been found hiding in hundreds of apps. These apps are said to use several different methods to avoid detection, including standard and custom encryption.
In January 2020, Google published a long blog post where it detailed its three-year-old fight with Joker malare. Google first detected the Joker malware in the year 2017.