Google removes 60 apps from the Play Store that hid pornographic ads

Google removes 60 apps from the Play Store that hid pornographic ads

Once a person downloaded one of the infected apps, pop-ups would either alert them that they had a virus and direct them to a fake security app, convince them to enter their phone number through a contest to win an iPhone, or show them pornographic content.

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.

An individual or group of hackers created these malicious games under fake publisher names to distribute their malware and make money off the scheme, Check Point researcher Daniel Padon told CNN Tech.

Google has removed the offending apps from the Google Play Store, but the games have already been downloaded more than 3 million times.

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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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. Check Point found 303 malicious apps in the Play Store a year ago. The latter is particularly disturbing considering that most of these infected apps were games or drawing tutorials meant to entice kids. Google says it also vets every app developer in Google Play.

'The most shocking element of this malware is its ability to cause pornographic ads (from the attacker's library) to pop up without warning on the screen over the legitimate game app being displayed, ' it said. In a statement provided to ABC7 News, Google also says that "AdultSwine" did not exploit an Android security vulnerability and that users' devices were not compromised.

When the malicious code is installed onto your phone, it waits for the user to unlock the device to start the malicious activity. While most apps on the store are easy to use, very few support transfer of call logs, messages, photos etc. Google too has its proprietary backup system.

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

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