Google culls 60 Android apps after malware pushes porn on children

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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", a Google spokesperson said.

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.

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.

Google culls 60 Android apps after malware pushes porn on children

Google has removed 60 games from the Play Store after security firm Check Point Research informed the search giant that the apps hid malicious code that would, in some circumstances, display pornographic ads.

Such exclusively family-based apps are checked manually by Google for malware and ad content, according to those familiar with the situation, but the AdultSwine code was put out for general release. But the fake security app also contains malicious software, or malware. After a download, the app only had to wait for a reboot, or for the user to unlock their screen, to start sending information back to a command and control server, which would then serve the ads.

It might, for example, show an ad claiming "the user is entitled to win an iPhone by simply answering four short questions", Check Point explained.

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According to Check Point's researchers, AdultSwine is a particularly insidious malware because it is found in apps from trusted sources and can cause emotional distress and financial loss. In that instance, the button was titled with a seductive: "Remove virus now".

In some cases this link is merely to an advertisement, but it could also lead to whatever social engineering scheme the attackers likes.

Affected apps include Five Nights Survival Craft, with between 1 million and 5 million downloads, and Mcqueen Car Racing Game, which has been downloaded at least 500,000 times.

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Effective protection from attack by these malware-infected games requires users to install advanced mobile threat defence on all mobile devices.

Check Point's graphical description of AdultSwine at work.

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