What is Joker?

Joker classified as a Trojan spy. It belongs to a family of malware whose purpose is to collect data and perform operations without the user’s knowledge or consent. They do not block the phone for ransom and often do not show themselves at first glance, but they are still very dangerous. The virus can steal your SMS messages, contact list and device information. Based on this, it can interact with advertising websites and sign you up for premium services without your knowledge. Thus, it directly causes you financial damage. At first, it relied on SMS fraud, but that wasn’t enough, and now it’s making online payments in the background.

How does Joker Malware spread?

Back in September 2020, the first frightening figures were recorded. The ”Joker” was found in 24 Android apps. Together, these apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times. Only after that the threat was detected, and the applications were removed from the store. At the moment, the malware has affected people in more than 30 countries around the world.

In June 2021, the virus was detected in 8 new applications. At the moment, they are all removed from Google Play, but many users managed to download them. Among them were mainly applications for scanning, installing wallpapers and messages.

Shortly after the previous incident in August 2021, the “Joker” showed itself again. This time, the malware was detected in 16 apps available on Google Play. At the same time, the subjects of distribution again turned out to be PDF scanning applications, SMS applications and messaging applications in general. However, this time we do not have statistics on how many users managed to suffer from this.

What actions can Joker perform after obtaining the rights

As soon as the malware gets these rights, it will be able to execute commands and simulate touching the display. While for the owner of the device, these actions will be invisible. Moreover, it can perfom the following actions:

  • Intercept and block app notifications;
  • Set yourself as an SMS sending the application by default;
  • Use USSD commands;
  • Make phone calls;
  • Steal contact lists;
  • Show phishing screens on top of other apps.

The virus can also counteract its removal from the device.

What should I do to avoid getting infected with the Joker virus?

Please note that your phone and personal data are safe until you download the app from the SMS link and install it. Even if you missed this moment, know that Joker does not have full control over the device, unless the user himself gives access to the “Accessibility service” function. Keep this in mind when giving permissions to unfamiliar applications to enable this option.

With the growing number of mobile device users, the number of viruses has also increased. If earlier Trojans that change settings and infect other files (for example, Skulls for Symbian) were the most dangerous, then modern hacker developments are able to make the gadget stop turning on, deleting the information necessary for the OS. To avoid similar situations in the future:

  • Prohibit installations from third-party sources in the settings. You will still be able to download games, movies, music, books, programs from the Play Market store, files in which are manually and automatically checked;
  • Download the antivirus. Do not abuse this point – just one such application is enough, simultaneous use of several will cause the device to slow down;
  • Check the permissions of the existing software, remove the checkboxes from the “Change system settings” item for services that do not belong to reliable publishers, such as Google.

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Reset to Factory Settings

It will not be so easy to remove the application from the device. Definitely, it is necessary to reset the device to factory settings. Keep in mind that this will lead to the loss of personal data. Before performing the procedure, perform a backup.

  1. Start up your device in Recovery Mode using previous instruction
  2. Select the “Factory Reset” option, a notification will appear that it is impossible to reverse the changes;
  3. After completing the process, restart the phone by clicking on “Reboot“.

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