Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Pornographic malware found in Android apps for kids

Pornographic malware found in Android apps for kids

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 discovery was made by Check Point Software Technologies with Silicon Valley offices in San Carlos. The apps were downloaded between 3.5 to 7 million times in total.

Google will continue to show warnings to users who still have the apps installed, according to Check Point. The app also works with Android Wear devices and features Chromecast support.

The most shocking element of this malware is that it is capable of causing pornographic ads from the attacker's ad library to pop up on the screen without warning, above legitimate game apps.

On the scareware front, AdultSwine displays an ad that claims the user's device is infected by a virus.

It said games and apps intended for children were a new target for cyber criminals that had targeted hospitals, businesses and governments in the past. Android users should also consider using Google Play Protect, which is created to scan apps daily for issues.

If you're interested in reading Check Point's list of affected apps, take a look at its research post for all the details.

The researchers also discovered that the malicious code can move laterally within the phone's infrastructure, opening the door for other attacks, such as user password theft. The phone number would be used to register for premium services.

The code could even do more damage, as Check Point noted that AdultSwine "also has a potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept".

The gaming apps include titles such as Mcqueen Car Racing Game, Subway Banana Run Surf, and Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf. Whereas previously, apps could qualify simply by implementing enhanced notifications, Google's planned policy change for January 18th, 2018 imposed some stricter restrictions.

A number of Android apps on Google Play that could have been downloaded by children have been serving up an unwelcome surprise: pornographic ads.

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