Check Point finds AdultSwine malware in Google Play apps

Check Point finds AdultSwine malware in Google Play apps”

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

The 60 games, with names such as "Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago" and "Subway Banana Run Surf", were downloaded 3 million to 7 million times, Google Play data shows.

The cull came soon after Check Point found the malicious code lurking within apps and games that were specifically geared toward younger users. The ads can also appear outside the app.

One pop-up presented to victims displayed an image of Kim Kardashian posing in bed, promising viewers "new leaked pictures" if they clicked a "subscribe" button. "Users should be extra vigilant when installing apps, particularly those intended for use by children". It's also built to be flexible, so its authors in the future could expand their sites to other malicious activities, such as credential theft.

Once the infected app is installed on a device, it waits for a user to unlock the screen or start the phone in order to initiate the attack.

Is Google doing enough to protect against Android app malware? Android users should also consider using Google Play Protect, which is created to scan apps daily for issues. But if the victim enters their number, the malware sends premium SMS messages, incurring charges.

"Apps infected with the nasty 'AdultSwine" malicious code are able to cause emotional and financial distress.

"The malware simply receives a target link from its command and control (C&C) server and displays it to the user", the researchers continued. The researchers said the code could "wreak havoc" in three possible ways: display web ads that were often inappropriate and pornographic, attempt to trick users into installing fake "security apps", and try to make users register for some sort of premium services at a cost.

The scareware "virus removal" tool has also been removed from Google Play for using inappropriate marketing tactics to drive installs.

"Due to the pervasive use of mobile apps, 'AdultSwine" and other similar malicious apps will likely be continually repeated and imitated by hackers.

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