Google has removed from its Google Play Store more than 60 gaming apps, many seemingly targeted at kids, that contained malware that showed pornographic ads.
According to CNN, researchers from security firm Check Point discovered the malware, called AdultSwine, in apps that have been downloaded more than 3 million times, according to a report released Friday.
The gaming apps include titles such as Mcqueen Car Racing Game, Subway Banana Run Surf, and Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf.
An individual or group of hackers created these malicious games under fake publisher names to distribute their malware and make money off the scheme, Check Point researcher Daniel Padon told CNN Tech.
Once downloaded, the malicious apps displayed “highly pornographic” pop-up advertisements in a new web page, and attempted to scare users into installing fake security apps. It also intended to get users to buy worthless premium services, the researchers found.
According to Check Point, Google removed the malicious apps hours after they were notified of the issue.
“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 CNN Tech. “We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.”
One user said in a comment on the Google Play Store that his son saw pornographic content on one of the apps, according to Check Point’s findings.
The malware was not found in apps that are a part of Google’s “Designed for Families” program. Google staffers manually review apps designed for children. Apps made primarily for kids under 13 must participate in this program, according to the company’s website.
Google said the malicious advertisements did not come from its ad network.
Despite Google’s security precautions, malicious apps can find their way into the Google Play Store. Check Point found 303 malicious apps in the Play Store last year.
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. Padon also suggested checking apps’ reviews before downloading. But some malware authors create fake reviews to make their apps seem legitimate.
List of Android app displaying malware
(Source: Check Point)
|App Name||Minimum Downloads||Maximum Downloads|
|Five Nights Survival Craft||1,000,000||5,000,000|
|Mcqueen Car Racing Game||500,000||1,000,000|
|Addon Pixelmon for MCPE||500,000||1,000,000|
|Exploration Pro WorldCraft||100,000||500,000|
|San Andreas City Craft||100,000||500,000|
|Subway Banana Run Surf||100,000||500,000|
|Exploration Lite : Wintercraft||100,000||500,000|
|Addon GTA for Minecraft PE||100,000||500,000|
|Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE||100,000||500,000|
|Drawing Lessons Angry Birds||50,000||100,000|
|Temple Crash Jungle Bandicoot||50,000||100,000|
|Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars||50,000||100,000|
|Drawing Lessons Chibi||50,000||100,000|
|Girls Exploration Lite||10,000||50,000|
|Drawing Lessons Subway Surfers||10,000||50,000|
|Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf||10,000||50,000|
|Flash Slither Skin IO||10,000||50,000|
|Invisible Slither Skin IO||10,000||50,000|
|Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago||10,000||50,000|
|Drawing Lessons Lego Chima||5,000||10,000|
|Temple Bandicoot Jungle Run||1,000||5,000|
|Jungle Survival Craft 1.0||1,000||5,000|
|Easy Draw Octonauts||1,000||5,000|
|Virtual Family – Baby Craft||500||1,000|
|Mine Craft Slither Skin IO||500||1,000|
|Guide Clash IO||100||500|
|Invisible Skin for Slither IO app||100||500|
|Zombie Island Craft Survival||100||500|
|Jurassic Survival Craft Game||100||500|
|Players Unknown Battle Ground||100||500|
|Subway Bendy Ink Machine Game||100||500|
|Shin Hero Boy Adventure Game||100||500|
|Temple Runner Castle Rush||100||500|
|Dragon Shell for Super Slither||100||500|
|Flash Skin for Slither IO app||50||100|
|Pixel Survival – Zombie Apocalypse||50||100|
|Fire Skin for Slither IO app||10||50|
|San Andreas Gangster Crime||10||50|
|Stickman Fighter 2018||10||50|
|Subway Run Surf||10||50|
|Guide Vikings Hunters||10||50|
|Pack of Super Skins for Slither||10||50|
|Spinner Toy for Slither||10||50|
|How to Draw Coco and The Land of the Dead||10||50|
|How to Draw Dangerous Snakes and Lizards Species||1||5|
|How to Draw Real Monster Trucks and Cars||1||5|
|How to Draw Animal World of The Nut Job 2||1||5|
|How to Draw Batman Legends in Lego Style||1||5|