Some disturbing news coming out of the Android world today, as Check Point has found a ton of apps and games designed for kids loaded with pornographic malware. This particular malware is called AdultSwine, and this seems to be a relatively new malware hitting the markets. There were over 60 different gaming apps on Google Play Store that contained this pornographic malware.
Check Point, which is a security firm, quickly alerted Google to this malware. Google has since removed the 60 gaming apps from Google Play Store, but not before the apps were downloaded millions of times. Read on to learn about this pornographic malware and how children were at risk of seeing this adult content.
Pornographic Malware Aiming for Gaming Apps Targeted Towards Kids
The pornographic malware, called AdultSwine, was targeting the games that were designed for children. Likely because the hackers knew that the games for kids would get more attention and end up being downloaded significantly more. The gaming apps on Google Play where this malware was found included games such as Banana Run Surf, Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf, and McQueen Car Racing Game. The publisher names were faked by the hackers in order to get onto Google Play Store and make money from the malware. Earning fake advertisement revenue is often the number one priority for the malicious apps, and the pornographic malware is no exception.
The pornographic malware showed adult advertisements, including using Kim Kardashian in one of the advertisements to get people to click on it. These advertisements were all very graphic in nature, and they were all done in a pop-up manner. What would happen is that it would open up the advertisements in a new web page. From there, it would then try to scare the user into downloading a fake security app. The hackers were earning money through the advertisements, and it also tried to get people to buy premium services to make even more money.
Pornographic Malware on Android Removed by Google
Once Check Point notified Google of these 60 pornographic malware apps, Google went in and removed them within hours. Google said that warnings will pop up for those who have ended up downloading these apps. All told, these apps were downloaded more than 3 million times, and that could be bad news for those that have installed this malware.
Google also disabled the account of the developers in an effort to stop the pornographic malware from spreading. Google has a specific program called Designed for Families, in which manual review of apps for kids are done. None of these apps fell into that program, which means no manual review of the apps took place. Google requires that any apps made for children under 13 must be a part of this program, which the hackers obviously did not go through with.
Google also said that none of these advertisements came from within the Google ad network, and they were all outside advertisements. Even though Google said it has a lot of security features in place to prevent this type of stuff from happening, it still happens quite often. Just last year, Check Point found over 300 malicious apps on Google Play Store. It is a bit unnerving that now pornographic malware is being found within the apps and games for children.
This means parents are going to have to be more alert than ever about the games their children are downloading from Google Play. It is best to stick with all of those games in the Designed for Families program, since those are manually reviewed. That makes it more likely any malicious apps, such as the pornographic malware apps, would be found quickly.