Porn-Laden Gaming Apps Infiltrate Google Play

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Google has deleted several dozen apps - many of them aimed at kids - after a security firm found that they contain malware that could show pornographic pop-up ads.

Once the malicious app is installed on the device, it waits for a boot to occur or for a user to unlock their screen in order to initiate the attack.

The malicious code, named AdultSwine, also attempts to make users register to premium services at the user's expense.

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"We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them", Google said in an emailed statement. While the AdultSwine malware games only seem to display ads they receive from the C&C, there could be other unknown intentions of the attacker that are now unknown, possibly, credential theft. To make themselves hard to remove, the infected apps had code to hide their icons.

"Although for now, this malicious app seems to be a nasty nuisance, and most certainly damaging on both an emotional and financial level, it nevertheless also has a potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept", the researchers wrote. Then there were some ads that tried to trick the user into giving up their phone number by telling them that they had won a prize.

To combat the spread of malware through the Google Play store, Google introduced Bouncer in 2012, which scans apps for threats before making them available for download. Check Point has a full list of the names to 63 malicious apps here.

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Due to the pervasive use of mobile apps, "AdultSwine" and other similar malicious apps will likely be continually repeated and imitated by hackers. Duo users can now make calls to other users who do not have the app installed on their smartphones.

Check Point researchers said at least one review left by a parent on Google Play's store in November had complained about pornographic pictures, which had appeared when his four-year-old was playing a game.

To learn how to opt-in and find more details about the program, visit the Google Play Developer Help Center.

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