Google deletes 60 apps, many aimed at kids, that showed porn ads

Google deletes 60 apps, many aimed at kids, that showed porn ads

Google deletes 60 apps, many aimed at kids, that showed porn ads

The malware, dubbed AdultSwine, is said to have displayed the highly inappropriate images while also attempting to trick users into installing a fake-security app, or "scareware".

Researchers have found a batch of over 60 malware-carrying apps in Google's Play Store created to rob mobile users or show them pornography, all with a kid-friendly theme.

The company is "struggling to keep certain malware outside the App store" because some nasty code can only be detected by dynamically analyzing the context of an app's actions, which is hard to do, a Check Point researcher explains. According to Play Store statistics, collectively the 60 apps have been downloaded between 3 and 7 million times. Some of the apps include those that have been downloaded over 1 million times, like Five Nights Survival Craft and McQueen Car Racing Game, which is based on the Disney Pixarcharacter from the film Cars.

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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After Check Point informed Google about the malware, the tech giant worked with the security firm and deleted the apps right away, Check Point said. The latter is particularly disturbing considering that most of these infected apps were games or drawing tutorials meant to entice kids.

Check Point says the "malicious code's own ad library... contains ads of an offensive nature, including pornographic ads". This only works on Android phones as it uses Google's App Preview Messaging service that was first used with Allo in 2016, so trying to call iPhone users that don't have the app still won't work. "We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them". "Should the user answer them, the malicious code informs the user that he has been successful, and asks him to enter his phone number to receive the prize".

In late August of past year, Google announced some updates to its Android Wear policy which would affect the requirements for an app to obtain an "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge.

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