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Joker Malware is Back (And It’s No Joke)

During the past few months, Joker has become one of the most active Android malware infections.

Old malware never dies — it just morphs into something more devious and dangerous — and this pattern is playing out with “Joker” malware, which was first identified in 2016. In 2021, it’s back and more diverse and devious than ever.

During the past few months, Joker has become one of the most active Android malware infections. Joker rides on the coat-tails of seemingly legitimate apps, then covertly signs up users for pricey subscription services. It can also steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information. 

Joker variations seem to arrive in batches, with a fresh batch leeching onto dozens of apps as recently as September. 

Joker Infiltrates The App Store

“One of the best ways to avoid malware and trojan apps is to use Google’s sanctioned app store,” says Emilio Simoni, PSafe’s dfndr lab Research Director, “but unfortunately, Joker has managed to disguise itself and mutate so profusely, that it has found its way on to several apps within the official Google Play marketplace. Of course third party app stores are also offering Joker-tainted apps — so the best protection is going to be a strong security app that sniffs out malware-tainted apps immediately, like our dfndr security Pro.”

Google removes the offending apps as soon as they’re reported — but the high rate of variation and concealment with this particular trojan keeps bringing new specimens on board.

Delay Tactics

“Part of what makes Joker so effective is that it waits to take effect,” Simoni remarks. “After the trojan-app is downloaded (many of these are knockoffs of better-known apps) it waits to drop a very small packet of code, it then reaches out to the server that loads the malware that does all the dirty work.” 

What Can You Do To Stay Safe?

Good hygiene with your digital devices includes:

  • Installing only the apps that you need and use. Loading up your device with as many apps as you can imagine using is a hazardous path. 
  • Being wary. Look for apps from developers you know and trust.  Do a little background checking and make sure that cool new app is coming from a known and trusted provider.
  • Cleaning house periodically. To keep the number of apps you use to a minimum, do a periodic review of the apps on your phone and delete the ones you’re not using. 

“Good security habits are always the first step,” Simoni observes, “but we can see that with truly devious malware like Joker, personal vigilance may not be enough.  When a piece of malware is mutating on a monthly basis, you need a dedicated security solution to help keep you safe.” 

The Best Defense Begins BEFORE Dangerous Apps Are Downloaded

An excellent way to protect yourself is to use a security application like dfndr security Pro, which has a dedicated Safe App Installer that can tell you if the app you’re about to install has been identified as malware.  This is exactly what the Safe App Installer does: it AUTOMATICALLY protects you from malware and apps known to compromise your data — before you even install them.

More Protection for Your Digital Life

Safe App Installer is only one of the key features dfndr security Pro offers.  It also comes with a full suite of security capabilities that can protect you not only from digital threats, but from thieves “IRL” as well.

Beyond Safe App, there are four additional features dfndr security Pro offers to protect you and make your digital life easier:

Anti-theft protection: Protects against physical loss that leads to data loss: in case of theft or loss of your device, you can lock  it down remotely, find the phone on a map; or, activate a loud alarm to find it nearby. You can also get a picture of the thief, and wipe the phone of your personal data.

Privacy Protection: You can locate on a map where your app data is going and how it might be used by third-parties.

Unlimited Identity Theft Reports: These reports provide “perimeter defense,”looking out for privacy vulnerabilities beyond your own device. These reports reveal if any of your information has been leaked, with a one-click check of a database with over 10 billion compromised credentials. 

Ad-Free: As an extra bonus, Pro is totally ad-free.

Get The Protection You Need Today

Click here to download dfndr security and free trial dfndr security Pro to put all of these features to work securing your phone, your data, and your digital life. dfndr security Pro offers a full suite of protection, constantly updated, to make sure “you’re safe out there.”