Google bans 2 smart TV apps with Joker malware from Play Store; check phone now

After Kaspersky pointed them out, Google bans 2 smart TV apps from Play Store - ‘Smart TV remote’ and ‘Halloween Coloring’.
| Updated on Nov 14 2021, 07:27 PM IST
Google bans 2 smart TV apps from Play Store that were infected with the malicious Joker malware.
Google bans 2 smart TV apps from Play Store that were infected with the malicious Joker malware. (REUTERS)

Google bans malicious apps from its Google Play Store whenever it finds them there or comes to know about them when security companies point it out. This kind of action goes a long way in protecting users from scams on the internet. In the latest such instance, the company has banned two new smart TV-based apps from the Google Play Store. These two apps are ‘Smart TV remote’ and ‘Halloween Coloring’. Out of these, the former has been downloaded at least 1,000 times. The information comes courtesy of Kaspersky’s security analyst Tatyana Shishkova who took to Twitter to disclose the names of two malicious apps on the Google Play Store. Shishkova says that these apps come with Trojanised Joker malware.

Notably, Joker malware is known to subscribe users to premium content without their knowledge. Earlier this year, over 5,00,000 Huawei devices were found to be infected with Joker malware. Bleeping Computer also analysed the code of these malicious apps, that is, ‘Smart TV remote’ and ‘Halloween Coloring’ and it found out that it exists in the "resources/assets/kup3x4nowz" file within the Smart TV remote app. Also, an identical file named "q7y4prmugi" exists at the same location in the Halloween Coloring app.

What makes these apps, rather the malicious code in these apps, undetectable is the fact that these files yr41ajkdp5 and vl39sbv02d are ‘XOR-encrypted’. This encryption makes them undetectable by any of the popular antivirus apps. On further analysing these apps, the publication found out that both the 'Smart TV remote' and 'Halloween Coloring' apps are downloading malicious apps onto users’ Android smartphones. On confirming its analysis, the publication reported these apps to Google, which then removed them from its Play Store.

How to remove malware from your phone

If you have downloaded or if you are using either one of these two apps -- ‘Smart TV remote’ and ‘Halloween Coloring’ -- it is advisable that you remove them from your smartphone immediately. You should also check if these apps have signed you up for subscription services that you didn’t approve of or downloaded an app that you didn’t approve of.

Steps to take

1. Check your phone for apps that you have not downloaded. If you find any, delete them as they probably have been infected with malicious malware.

2. Are some apps on your phone consuming more data than others? Delete them too, if you do not use them.

3. Check apps on your phone that may have bad reviews on app stores. If possible, delete them and get better alternatives.

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First Published Date: 14 Nov, 07:27 PM IST
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