Researchers find pop-up porn malware on Google game apps

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Researchers find pop-up porn malware on Google game apps

Researchers at security company Check Point Software Technologies on Friday found pornographic malware hiding inside about 60 games apps, many of which were intended for kids.

The inappropriate ads being displayed come from two main sources, Check Point said: mainstream ad providers and the malicious code's own ad library (where the porn ads stem from).

The apps so far had been downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times, the researchers said, citing Google Play's data.

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

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"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 told The Register.

The malware, which Check Point dubbed "AdultSwine", attacked users in three ways, with the pornographic ads only being one. A full list of apps can be found here. If the user clicks through, the malicious code eventually asks him to enter his phone number to receive the "prize", which, of course, is a ploy. After a download, the app only had to wait for a reboot, or for the user to unlock their screen, to start sending information back to a command and control server, which would then serve the ads.

To scare users into installing unnecessary and harmful "security" apps, the malware displays a misleading ad claiming that a virus has infected the victim's device.

In late August of previous year, Google announced some updates to its Android Wear policy which would affect the requirements for an app to obtain an "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge.

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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", Check Point warned.

As well as showcasing inappropriate content, the malware also tries to trick users into downloading fake security apps, informing users they need to remove viruses.

"Due to the pervasive use of mobile apps, "AdultSwine" and other similar malware will likely be continually repeated and imitated by hackers".

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