Google Play takes down 63 children's apps after malware discovered


Dubbed "AdultSwine", the code not only uses porn ads to help generate monetised clicks, but also tries to scare users into installing fake security services and dupe victims into letting the app send premium texts - which are then charged to the user's account.

Google Play bans software that promotes sexually explicit content, and the company has safeguards in place to prevent malware-laden apps from infiltrating the platform.

A Google spokesperson said, "We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them". The apps were downloaded between 3.5 to 7 million times in total.

Despite Google's security precautions, malicious apps can find their way into the Google Play Store.

When the malicious code is installed onto your phone, it waits for the user to unlock the device to start the malicious activity.

According to Android Police, the option to call users is included in the latest update, with an "Instant App" like experience called App Preview Messaging that's part of Google Play services letting fellow Android users answer calls through Duo.

The new policy would require apps to work as standalone Wear apps and force Wear APKs to be uploaded to the Play Store as a multi-APK instead of bundling them within phone apps.

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Check Point says the "malicious code's own ad library... contains ads of an offensive nature, including pornographic ads".

In a statement (via Gizmodo), Google confirmed the apps have been removed from the Play Store.

In this case, the malware initially displays a pop-up ad claiming the user has won an iPhone and that their phone number is needed to collect the prize.

Effective protection from attack by these malware-infected games requires users to install advanced mobile threat defence on all mobile devices.

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

"Due to the pervasive use of mobile apps, AdultSwine and other similar malicious apps are likely to be continually repeated and imitated by hackers", the researchers said in a blog post.