Google bans 50 Android Apps: The apps Android phone users must delete now, what is the 'Joker' bug?

Google has just banned 50 apps from the Play Store, and Android users are being warned to delete them immediately. But why were the apps banned? And what apps should Android users delete now?

Why have 50 Android apps been banned?

Google just banned another 50 applications from the Play Store.

The security team at Zscaler (an IT security company) discovered that the troublesome apps had stolen personal details, intercepted private texts, and even forced some users into subscription plans they never intended to use.

Google has recently blocked 50 popular apps from the Play Store which were loaded with dangerous malware that could secretly steal your money.

All apps featured ‘virulent’ malware including the infamous Joker bug. Joker, when installed, can implant hidden spyware and dialers onto devices, which can sign-up users onto expensive monthly subscription plans.

In past cases, some victims were paying hundreds of pounds per year due to fraudulent subscriptions.

Coper malware was also found in the apps, which can intercept text messages, unlock devices, and prevent removal of the malware.

Commenting on the malware, Zscaler said that despite the Google Play Store being “one of the safest sources for users to find and install android apps,” unfortunately threat actors have evolved their tactics.

After their team discovered the harmful software, they “immediately notified the Google Android Security team of these newly identified threats, and they promptly removed the malicious apps from the Google Play Store.”

What apps were banned from the Google Play Store?

The following apps have been banned on the Google Play Store:

Simple Note Scanner, Universal PDF Scanner, Private Messenger, Premium SMS, Smart Messages, Text Emoji SMS, Blood Pressure Checker, Funny Keyboard, Memory Silent Camera, Custom Themed Keyboard, Light Messages, Themes Photo Keyboard, Send SMS, Themes Chat Messenger, Instant Messenger, Cool Keyboard, Fonts Emoji Keyboard, Mini PDF Scanner, Smart SMS Messages, Creative Emoji Keyboard, Fancy SMS, Fonts Emoji Keyboard (2), Personal Message, Funny Emoji Message, Magic Photo Editor, Professional Messages, All Photo Translator, Chat SMS, Smile Emoji, Wow Translator, All Language Translate, Cool Messages, Blood Pressure Diary, Chat Text SMS, Hi Text SMS, Emoji Theme Keyboard, iMessager, Text SMS, Camera Translator, Come Messages, Painting Photo Editor, Rich Theme Message, Quick Talk Message, Advanced SMS, Professional Messenger, Classic Game Messenger, Style Message, Private Game Messages, Timestamp Camera, Social Message.

The full list of banned apps and additional information can be found on the Zscaler website.

How can you avoid downloading dangerous apps?

Security experts recommend only downloading applications if they are from a trusted/well-known source.

Keep an eye out for apps with high installation numbers and credible review scores.

After installation, do not immediately grant permissions on your phone unless you are fully convinced of the app and its source.

Furthermore, if you receive an unusual link from a friend inviting you to join an app it is best you avoid doing so as this is a common technique that hackers use to spread their bugs.

If you ever find yourself the victim of malware from the Play Store, report it to Google immediately.