Google removed three android apps from its Play Store and having them installed on your phone could leave you with a bad bill. The Mountain View firm purged its online market after discovering that the trio of apps were capable of installing the notorious Joker bug. This infamous malware steals money from Android users by secretly signing them up for expensive subscription services that can be worth hundreds of pounds a year.

The Google Play Store apps – called Style Message, Blood Pressure App and Camera PDF Scanner – have all been found to contain Joker malware hidden by Kaspersky researchers.

In an online post, Igor Golovin explained that bad actors are able to ensure that Joker bypasses Google’s security measures by letting its malicious payload sit idle during the verification process, with malicious functions only becoming active. only after the application is posted on the Play Store market. .

Golovin explained, “Trojans from the Trojan.AndroidOS.Jocker family can intercept codes sent in text messages and bypass anti-fraud solutions. store, add malicious code to them, and re-upload them to the store under a different name. Trojanized applications serve their original purposes in most cases, and the user will not suspect that they are a source of threats.

“To bypass verification on Google Play, the Trojan monitors whether it is online. The malicious payload will remain inactive while the app is stuck at the verification stage.”

All three Android apps have since been removed from the Google Play Store. But if you have already downloaded them before the programs were removed, you will need to remove them from your phone.

As a reminder, the applications to know – which have already been downloaded by thousands of Android users – are the following…

• Style message (com.stylelacat.messagearound),

• Blood pressure app (blood.maodig.raise.bloodrate.monitorapp.plus.tracker.tool.health) and

• Camera PDF scanner (com.jiao.hdcam.docscanner)

Advising people on how to stay safe, Kaspersky says that even if you download an app from the Google Play Store, be sure to check information such as reviews as well as developer details to see if the app is made by an honorable or well-known name.

Kaspersky said: “To avoid unwanted subscriptions, avoid installing apps from unofficial sources, which are the most common source of malware. You should also not let your guard down when installing apps from From Google Play: read reviews, read developer, terms of use and payment For messaging, choose a well-known app with positive reviews.

“Even if you trust an app, you should avoid granting it too many permissions. Allow access to notifications only for apps that need it to fulfill their purposes – for example, to forward notifications to portable devices. Apps for something like themed wallpapers or photo editing don’t need access to your notifications.”