Google removes 60 apps from Play Store infected with pop-up porn malware

Image used for representational purpose

Image used for representational purpose

As of now, Google has deleted around 63 games from its Play Store after the discovery of a malicious bug, that displayed porn ads in the gaming apps, most of which are played by children. "CheckPoint explains that it can be hard to catch these types of malware because, "(...) some nasty code can only be detected by dynamically analyzing the context of an app's actions, which is hard to do". The affected apps have been downloaded between three to seven million times, the researchers citing Google Play data, said. The malware was found posing as a Google Play Store app called "Swift Cleaner" and already has between 1,000 to 5,000 installs.

Looks like Google is planning to bring its Google Duo app or its features to more smartphones for even those which don't have the app installed. Google also notes that it manually reviews ads and has strict category blocks to ensure children have a safe experience. The malware, dubbed AdultSwine, displayed pornographic images that looked like ads but were actually created to prompt users to download fake security software and, getting users to click on links they then have to pay for. Check Point's own Zone Alarm Android security app also provides protection.

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.

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Android users should make sure they download apps from known developers and parents of young users are urged to download apps from Google's family program.

Check Point's graphical description of AdultSwine at work.

Check Point has a list of the affected apps in its research post.

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There are some instances where the malware would prompt users to register for a premium SMS service.

Lookout confirmed Check Point's findings on AdultSwine malware and said their security software has protected Android users since April 2017.

Read our developer guide, The Family Playbook, to get tips on how to succeed with family and kid-focused apps and games on Google Play.

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