Google pulls kids apps containing inappropriate AdultSwine malware

Google pulls kids apps containing inappropriate AdultSwine malware

Google's gotten rid of over 60 apps in the Play Store after Check Point researchers discovered malicious code hiding in plain sight inside the applications. The company clarified that the inappropriate ads within the apps were not Google ads.

Google has removed the infected apps from the Play Store, but its doing so will not protect any of the millions of people (many of whom are likely children) who have already downloaded the apps; due to the way the Android ecosystem works, Google normally can not unilaterally delete infected apps that are already installed on devices. The malware also tries to get victims to click through screens to register for unnecessary services that will cost them a bundle. Once the apps containing AdultSwine were installed on a device, the code would go to work displaying explicit content and trying to further ingrain itself onto the victim's phone.

Check Point said it expected AdultSwine and similar malware to be repeated and imitated by hackers, warning users to be extra vigilant when installing apps, especially those intended for use by children. So if your children's Android devices suddenly starts spitting out inappropriate ads, chances are there might be malware installed on that specific device.

Tech giant Google declared on Friday that it took down 60 gaming applications after new malicious softwares were discovered in the gaming programs. Check Point says the malware could display ads from "the main ad providers" or switch to its own ad server, which provided porn ads, scareware ads, and ads that tricked the user into signing up for premium services. Luckily, Google has already addressed the case, removing the apps from the store.

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Check Point researchers noted the potential for emotional and financial distress due to AdultSwine, and said this form of targeting of products for children will become more prominent.

While numerous infected apps were relatively obscure, Check Point notes that a handful of them were popular.

However, you needn't worry too much, as Google said in a statement that it has removed the infected apps from the Play Store and disabled the developers' accounts.

The most popular app that had been infected was called "Five Nights Survival Craft" and may have been downloaded up to five million times. The majority of apps infected are aimed at children, and some have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

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