Malware Displaying Porn Ads Discovered in Game Apps on Google Play

REUTERS  Dado Ruvic  Illustration
Google removes gaming apps with pop-up porn malware 0

"Google Play houses more apps and has laxer controls for developers to get their apps into the Play store", according to Jordan Herman, a researcher from the threat intelligence firm RiskIQ.

There are many reports where Android users delete Play Services because they don't know what it does and then they are left baffled to why their other apps stop functioning.

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.

Checkpoint's on the malware warns it shows pornographic ads which would obscure the actual game, including one featuring a picture of Kim Kardashian - fittingly, the code is called AdultSwine.

The apps so far had been downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times, the researchers said, citing Google Play's data.

The malware has been labeled "AdultSwine", and soon after Check Point alerted Google, the apps disappeared from the store. 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.

First, the malicious app displays a misleading ad claiming a virus has infected the user's device.

Another technique used by the malicious app is registering to premium services and charging the victim's account for fraudulent premium services they did not request.

Apps infected with the nasty "AdultSwine" malicious code are able to cause emotional and financial distress. Android's security team is increasingly using machine learning to detect malware in the Google Play store but Android Play Protect, the operating system's security tool, has mixed results in independent tests against competitors.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the apps named by the security firm were removed, and the developers' accounts were disabled.

It is quite surprising that these apps found their way to the Play Store. "We appreciate Check Point's work to help keep users safe".

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

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