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Google pulls gaming apps with porn malware

Google pulls gaming apps with porn malware

Malicious apps have been downloaded up to seven million times so far

Google has removed around 60 gaming apps from the Google Play Store after security organisation Check Point discovered they contained malicious code. Dubbed AdultSwine, the code hides itself inside the apps, many which are used by children.

The malicious apps – uncovered by Check Point researchers – have been downloaded between three million and seven million times so far, according to Google Play’s data.

According to Check Point, the malicious apps wreak havoc in three ways: they display ads from the web that are often highly inappropriate and pornographic; they attempt to trick users into installing fake security apps; and they induce users to register to premium services at the user’s expense.

Check Point researchers said that apart from these current three main activities, the malicious code can use its infrastructure to broaden its goals to other purposes, such as credential theft.

Once the malicious app is installed on the device, it waits for a boot to occur or for a user to unlock his screen, upon which it initiates its malicious activity, they said.

AdultSwine operation flow
AdultSwine operation flow

The researchers said although the malicious app seems to be only a nasty nuisance for now and is certainly “damaging on an emotional and financial level”, they have a “potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept”.

“The malicious code simply receives a target link from its ‘command and control’ server and it displays it to the user. While in some cases this link is merely an advertisement, it could lead to whatever social engineering scheme the hacker has in mind. Indeed, these plots continue to be effective even today, especially when they originate in apps downloaded from trusted sources such as Google Play,” researchers said.

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Tags securitymalwareporncheck pointGoogle Play StoreAdultSwine

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