Google Pulls Play Store Porn And Fraud Apps

Phillip Butler
January 16, 2018

The malware, which Check Point refers to as "AdultSwine", attacked users with the pornographic ads, tried to trick them into installing fake security apps that were infected with malware, and make them register for a premium service using their phone numbers.

Tech giant Google declared on Friday that it took down 60 gaming applications after new malicious softwares were discovered in the gaming programs. In reality, they are just downloading more malware.

The apps generated advertising revenues for its developers by displaying inappropriate ads to the children they were aimed at.

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

Such exclusively family-based apps are checked manually by Google for malware and ad content, according to those familiar with the situation, but the AdultSwine code was put out for general release. However, Check Point didn't explain how the malicious code found its way inside otherwise-innocuous apps, but it did demonstrate how the attack worked once the game was downloaded.


Registering To Premium ServicesAnother technique used by the malicious malware is registering to premium services and charging the victim's account for fraudulent premium services they did not request. It could view which app was now running and inject pornographic ads inside that too.

The technology giant did note, however, that it will cause devices on which the poisoned apps are installed to display warnings to users. I'm not saying it's easy but perhaps there's a case to be made for more rigourous checking of apps to ensure they only behave as prescribed. A game called "Five Nights Survival Craft", for example, had as many as five million downloads, while a kid-focused app called "Mcqueen Car Racing Game" had been downloaded one million times. "We appreciate Check Point's work to help keep users safe", Google said, in a statement to the Financial Times. Google responded to the revelation by removing more than 60 apps from its app store.

Google has said that strong warnings will continue to be displayed on any device with the corrupt apps installed.

For the full list of affected apps, go here.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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