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Cybersecurity researchers have unmasked six applications on the Google Play store with a combined total of over 200,000 downloads in yet another example of the highly persistent malware that has been plaguing Android users for the past three years.

Joker malware pretends to be a legitimate app in the Play Store but after installation conducts billing fraud by either sending SMS messages to a premium rate number or using the victim's account to repeatedly make purchases using WAP billing, which also lines the pockets of Joker's operators.

The activity occurs behind the scenes and without any input required from the user, meaning they often won't find out that they've been scammed until they receive a phone bill full of additional charges.

Google has removed over 1,700 apps containing Joker malware from the Play Store since 2017, but the malware keeps re-emerging and now six new malicious apps have been identified by researchers at cybersecurity company Pradeo.
 
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