Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Google pulls kids apps containing inappropriate AdultSwine malware

Google pulls kids apps containing inappropriate AdultSwine malware

It also attempts to con users into installing fake "security apps" and forces users to register for premium services at the expense of the user. According to Google Play's data, these game apps have been downloaded between 3 million to 7 million times before they were deleted. The apps were believed to be downloaded on as many as seven million Android devices. Numerous apps are meant to be used by children, with ads that are displayed to them while they are playing the game on the app.

Once Google was informed, they pulled the apps from the Play Store.

Check Point explained that the inappropriate ads within the apps weren't Google advertisements.

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The malware, dubbed AdultSwine by security shop Check Point, was found in apps like "Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars", "Fidget spinner for Minecraft" and "Spinner Toy for Slither", along with a large number of Android games.

The apps that contain this code have been removed from Google Play, but let this serve as a warning for users.

"AdultSwine" has been a particularly deceptive type of malware, because it infiltrates legitimate gaming apps which have passed Google Play's stringent vetting procedures. If the victim gives the phone number, the malware starts sending premium SMS messages, charging the user.

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"Although for now this malicious app seems to be a nasty nuisance, and most certainly damaging on both an emotional and financial level, it nevertheless also has a potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept."

Some of the ads use scareware pop-ups that warn users they've been infected with a virus.

While numerous infected apps were relatively obscure, Check Point notes that a handful of them were popular. They included Five Nights Survival Craft, which was downloaded a minimum of one million times; McQueen Car Racing Game, based on characters from Disney Pixar's Cars, and Addon Pixelmon for MCPE.

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Decisive Corrective ActionUpon being advised of our findings, Google collaborated with Check Point Research, took prompt action to remove affected apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to any users that still have the apps installed.

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