The police warn Android customers to delete harmful apps after Google banned them from the Play Retailer

A new Android warning is issued to all users … and you definitely don’t want to ignore it. Police officers in Belgium are urging users to delete eight apps from their smartphones and tablets after Google removed the offensive apps from the Play Store in a new ban. These applications all contain the dangerous “Joker” malware that can wreak havoc on any infected phone. Removing the apps from the Play Store will protect more people from installing the malware … but it won’t help those who have already accidentally downloaded the dangerous apps, the police warned.

Once installed, Joker has the option of installing hidden spyware and premium dialers on devices which then unsuspecting users can sign up for expensive monthly subscriptions. In the past, some victims had to pay more than £ 240 a year for these fraudulent subscriptions.

In a post on their website, the Belgian police said: “Warning! The Joker virus is back in the Android environment. This malware was discovered in 8 apps from the Play Store that have since been withdrawn by Google, but if you already have one installed, remove it ASAP.

According to researchers from cybersecurity company Quick Heal Security Lab, this latest wildcard virus can gain access to text messages, contacts and a lot of other personal information on smartphones.

READ MORE: Millions of Microsoft Word, Outlook and Powerpoint users will lose access to apps next month

Security firm Zimperium says it has seen over 1,000 new patterns from Joker app stores since it last reported the problem in 2020.

“Joker Trojans are malicious Android applications that have been known since 2017 for notoriously committing billing fraud and subscribing users to premium services,” explains Zimperium. “The result of a successful mobile infection is a financial gain for the cybercriminal that often lies in front of the victim long after the money is lost, and there is little or no recourse.”

Here are some top tips to keep your Android phone safe from attack

• Only download applications from trusted sources such as the Google Play Store

• Do not click on third-party links that you receive through messages or other social media platforms

• Deactivate the installation from the option “Unknown source”

• Read the pop-up messages you get from the Android system before accepting / allowing new permissions

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