ISSUE: Google Removes App Caught Engaging in Billing Fraud.

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0  Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

17 apps have been removed by Google from the official Play store this week.  These apps were infected by the Joker (aka Bread) malware and caught by security researchers.

The apps were uploaded to Play Store all within September and had been downloaded more than 120,000 times before being found.

Security researcher Viral Gandhi describes what Joker malware (aka spyware) is in a statement, “This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, along with silently signing up the victim for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services.”


So, how does one know if you are a victim of malware?   There are some tell-tale signs to look for.

1) Does the battery drain faster than normal?
2) Are there suddenly pop up adds?
3) Are there apps on your phone that you are unfamiliar with?  Not including the ones that may have been installed with the phone when it was new.
4) Has your data consumption increased without explanation?
5) Have you had any unexplained charges?
6) Has the overall performance of your device decreased?

If you suspect you’re the victim of malware or would like to avoid it, there are some steps you can take.

1) Keep your phone’s software (both your operating system and apps) up to date.
2) Check what permissions your app’s have.  Can an app send text messages?
3) You can also consider anti-virus apps.  Be careful since there is malware parading as anti-virus.  Look for well-known providers like Malwarebytes, Norton, or Bitdefender.

Also check to make sure you don’t have any of the 17 apps Google has removed.  Keep in mind that when Google or Apple remove an app from their stores this doesn’t automatically uninstall them from your device.  Here’s the list for ZDNet:

  • All Good PDF Scanner
  • Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
  • Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
  • Tangram App Lock
  • Direct Messenger
  • Private SMS
  • One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
  • Style Photo Collage
  • Meticulous Scanner
  • Desire Translate
  • Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
  • Care Message
  • Part Message
  • Paper Doc Scanner
  • Blue Scanner
  • Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Links and brand/store information provided are for information only and are not endorsed by Salem Media Group, KPAM or the shows hosts.   Article research and details this week come from

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw