Google Pulls 60 Apps From Play Store After Malware Exposes Kids to Porn

Dell Cameron 01/15/2018. 5 comments
Scareware Malware Security Google Google Play

Security researchers on Friday disclosed the existence of malicious code buried inside dozens of apps that displayed pornographic images to users. Many of the apps are games reportedly geared toward young children.

Google moved quickly on Friday to remove the roughly 60 apps said to be affected from its Play Store. The malware was first reported by the cyberthreat intelligence firm Check Point.

“We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them,” a Google spokesperson said. “We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.”

While they appeared as such, the pornographic images displayed were not actually Google ads. Google supposedly maintains tight controls on all ads that appear in what it calls “Designed for Family” apps. The company also maintains a white-list of advertisers deemed safe for children under the ages of 13.

None of the affected apps were part of Google’s “Family Link” program, which is the category of recognized kid-friendly apps available across Google’s platforms.

The malware, dubbed AdultSwine, is said to have displayed the highly inappropriate images while also attempting to trick users into installing a fake-security app, or “scareware.” After the fake “ads” were delivered, users would’ve received a “Remove Virus Now” notification, or something similar, designed to provoke users into downloading the scareware.

“An experienced eye could easily foresee this tactic, though a child playing a game app is easy prey for such nefarious apps,” the researchers said.

In some cases, the malware would also prompt users to register for premium services—meaning charges would be applied. It might, for example, tell users they could win a “free iPhone” by answering a few questions before prompting them to enter a phone number.

The AdultSwine malware was also capable of vacuuming up login credentials, according to Check Point, which would’ve been transferred back to a server under the malicious hackers’ control.

The affected gaming apps included at least one which may have had up to 5,000,000 downloads—Five Nights Survival Craft—as well as many others which had between 50,000 and 500,000 downloads.

A complete list of the affected apps is available in Check Point’s report.

HighResolutionMusic.com - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 The Chainsmokers

Beach House flac

The Chainsmokers. 2018. Writer: Andrew Taggart.
2 (G)I-DLE

POP/STARS flac

(G)I-DLE. 2018. Writer: Riot Music Team;Harloe.
3 Anne-Marie

Rewrite The Stars flac

Anne-Marie. 2018. Writer: Benj Pasek;Justin Paul.
4 Ariana Grande

​Thank U, Next flac

Ariana Grande. 2018. Writer: Crazy Mike;Scootie;Victoria Monét;Tayla Parx;TBHits;Ariana Grande.
5 Clean Bandit

Baby flac

Clean Bandit. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;Kamille;Jason Evigan;Matthew Knott;Marina;Luis Fonsi.
6 BTS

Waste It On Me flac

BTS. 2018. Writer: Steve Aoki;Jeff Halavacs;Ryan Ogren;Michael Gazzo;Nate Cyphert;Sean Foreman;RM.
7 Imagine Dragons

Bad Liar flac

Imagine Dragons. 2018. Writer: Jorgen Odegard;Daniel Platzman;Ben McKee;Wayne Sermon;Aja Volkman;Dan Reynolds.
8 Nicki Minaj

No Candle No Light flac

Nicki Minaj. 2018. Writer: Denisia “Blu June” Andrews;Kathryn Ostenberg;Brittany "Chi" Coney;Brian Lee;TJ Routon;Tushar Apte;ZAYN;Nicki Minaj.
9 Brooks

Limbo flac

Brooks. 2018.
10 BlackPink

Kiss And Make Up flac

BlackPink. 2018. Writer: Soke;Kny Factory;Billboard;Chelcee Grimes;Teddy Park;Marc Vincent;Dua Lipa.
11 Diplo

Close To Me flac

Diplo. 2018. Writer: Ellie Goulding;Savan Kotecha;Peter Svensson;Ilya;Swae Lee;Diplo.
12 Rita Ora

Velvet Rope flac

Rita Ora. 2018.
13 Fitz And The Tantrums

HandClap flac

Fitz And The Tantrums. 2017. Writer: Fitz And The Tantrums;Eric Frederic;Sam Hollander.
14 Little Mix

Woman Like Me flac

Little Mix. 2018. Writer: Nicki Minaj;Steve Mac;Ed Sheeran;Jess Glynne.
15 Billie Eilish

When The Party's Over flac

Billie Eilish. 2018. Writer: Billie Eilish;FINNEAS.
16 K-391

Mystery flac

K-391. 2018.
17 Cher Lloyd

None Of My Business flac

Cher Lloyd. 2018. Writer: ​iamBADDLUCK;Alexsej Vlasenko;Kate Morgan;Henrik Meinke;Jonas Kalisch;Jeremy Chacon.
18 Backstreet Boys

Chances flac

Backstreet Boys. 2018.
19 Lil Pump

Arms Around You flac

Lil Pump. 2018. Writer: Rio Santana;Lil Pump;Edgar Barrera;Mally Mall;Jon Fx;Skrillex;Maluma;Swae Lee;XXXTENTACION.
20 Kelly Clarkson

Never Enough flac

Kelly Clarkson. 2018. Writer: Benj Pasek;Justin Paul.

5 Comments

fritzo
TheBellKing
Mic Drop

Suggested posts

Other Dell Cameron's posts

Language