These apps were infected by the 'Joker' Malware, which steals your data from the phone. Joker Malware is one of the most prominent types of malware which keeps trying to enter the Play Store.
Google recently removed 11 apps from Playstore which were infected by the Joker Malware. This malware steals money from the unsuspecting user by subscribing them to paid content. Then the malware accesses the SMS for reading the OTPs to authenticate payments. The apps have a combined user base of 500,000. Google has informed that those who have installed the app should remove it immediately.
The infected packages have been announced by Google. Though keep in mind that these package names may have different names from the app. The packages are:
How did Joker enter Play Store?
Researchers at CheckPoint, security firm, said that "(Joker's Creator) hid the dynamically loaded dex file from sight while still ensuring it is able to load. Joker keeps finding its way into Google’s official application market as a result of small changes to its code, which enables it to get past the Play store’s security and vetting barriers.”.
This means that the user doesn't know what is happening in the back-end of the application. The creators of this malware also keep on updating the files so that Play Store finds it tougher to remove them. Additionally, this malware also installs other malware and virus into the system discreetly so that the user isn't suspicious. CheckPoint explained this in a report titled 'New Joker variant hits Google Play with an old trick.'
How to secure yourself?
Though it is advisable to not download shady applications, even from the play store, having an anti-virus helps. Popular companies such as Avast and McAffee have free phone anti-viruses available. Keep reviewing bank statements and check if there are unexplained purchases. That way, you can keep track if anyone is siphoning your funds. Malware like this harm the end-user to a great degree. Interested people can even head over to Malware Wiki, a directory of sorts for malware and viruses and keep themselves up to date with cyber-security.
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