63 games and apps on Google Play served porn ads

63 games and apps on Google Play served porn ads

A number of Android apps on Google Play that could have been downloaded by children have been serving up an unwelcome surprise: pornographic ads. Researchers from Israel-based Check Point Software Technologies were the first to discover the malware.

The malware is said to have shown highly inappropriate images while also attempting to trick users into installing a fake security app dubbed "scareware" on their device.

One of the displayed ads.

When it comes to the fraudulent premium services, AdultSwine initially displays a pop-up ad saying that the user is entitled to win an iPhone by simply answering four short questions.

In some cases, the malware would also prompt users to register for premium services - meaning charges would be applied.

However, the tech giant acted immediately and kicked the apps out of Google Play Store. To make themselves hard to remove, the infected apps had code to hide their icons.

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Upon selecting the 'Remove Virus Now' call to action, the user is directed to another app in the Google Play Store posing as a virus removal solution. And there are lots of them, since the applications were downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times.

Check Point says AdultSwine could also easily be used for further nefarious acts like credential theft.

It does this by contacting the developers' Command and Control server once the app has been downloaded, sends data about the infected device and gets back instructions on what to do next. Google on Friday morning has disabled the developers' accounts and "will show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them".

Check Point has a full list of the affected apps in its post on the issue.

The new policy would require apps to work as standalone Wear apps and force Wear APKs to be uploaded to the Play Store as a multi-APK instead of bundling them within phone apps. The feature has been created to constantly check apps as well as periodically scans devices for harmful apps in order to remove them. Many users left reviews on the Google Play Store for some of the apps.

All apps participating in the Designed for Families program must be relevant for children under the age of 13.

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