The software can sign you up to premium rate subscriptions without your knowledge or permission.
Researchers from Check Point found 11 dangerous pieces of software including a flower wallpapers app, an alarm app, a memory game, a file-recovery app, and several apps that offer cheery messages or relaxation.
The apps contain a type of malware dubbed Joker, which is one of the most prominent types of malware for Android, reports The Mirror.
In a blog, Check Point researchers explained: “Joker, one of the most prominent types of malware for Android, keeps finding its way into Google ’s official application market as a result of small changes to its code, which enables it to get past the Play store’s security and vetting barriers.
“This time, however, the malicious actor behind Joker adopted an old technique from the conventional PC threat landscape and used it in the mobile app world to avoid detection by Google.”
According to the researchers, Joker hid in ‘seemingly legitimate applications’ and installed ‘additional’ malware onto the devices of unsuspecting users.
Once installed, the malware then ‘subscribes the user to premium services without their knowledge or consent.’
All the apps have now been removed from the Google Play Store.
However, if you suspect that you may have one of these apps on your smartphone, Check Point advises that you:
- Uninstall the infected application from the device
- Check your mobile and credit-card bills to see if you have been signed up for any subscriptions and unsubscribe if possible
- Install a security solution to prevent future infections
The 11 dangerous apps