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Google culls 60 Android apps after malware pushes porn on children

13 January 2018, 05:25 | Ross Houston

Google culls 60 Android apps after malware pushes porn on children

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The malicious app is named Adult Swine, and Check Point says the bug displays inappropriate and pornographic ads, attempts to trick users into installing fake security apps, and tries to get users to sign up to premium services that charge the user's account.

Google has removed from its Google Play Store more than 60 gaming apps, many seemingly targeted at kids, that contained malware that showed pornographic ads.

The malware, dubbed AdultSwine by security shop Check Point, was found in apps like "Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars", "Fidget spinner for Minecraft" and "Spinner Toy for Slither", along with a large number of Android games.

In a statement to the Financial Times, a Google spokesperson said "We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them".

The games include McQueen Car Racing, Subway Banana Run Surf, and Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf.

The malware also sought to trick users into installing fake security apps, and could open the door for other attacks such as theft of user credentials, Check Point said.

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One user said in a comment on the Google Play Store that his son saw pornographic content on one of the apps, according to Check Point's findings. Google Play is the only way to download and install applications on Android devices without changing the device's application setting to "allow the installation of non-market applications".

The malware was not found in apps that are a part of Google's "Designed for Families" program. The malware then uses the number to register for premium services.

"Should the user press the notification of "Remove Virus Now" he is redirected to an app in the Google Play Store with a somewhat questionable connection to virus removal", said the researchers in an analysis. The apps were downloaded between 3.5 to 7 million times in total.

Some of the apps also display fake notices showing the phone has been infected by a virus and provides a malicious link to a fake virus cleaner.

"We advise parents to verify that apps used by their children are categorized as 'Designed for Families" on Google Play'.



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