Pornographic malware found in Android apps for kids

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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 NameMinimum DownloadsMaximum Downloads
Five Nights Survival Craft1,000,0005,000,000
Mcqueen Car Racing Game500,0001,000,000
Addon Pixelmon for MCPE500,0001,000,000
CoolCraft PE100,000500,000
Exploration Pro WorldCraft100,000500,000
Draw Kawaii100,000500,000
San Andreas City Craft100,000500,000
Subway Banana Run Surf100,000500,000
Exploration Lite : Wintercraft100,000500,000
Addon GTA for Minecraft PE100,000500,000
Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE100,000500,000
Drawing Lessons Angry Birds50,000100,000
Temple Crash Jungle Bandicoot50,000100,000
Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars50,000100,000
Drawing Lessons Chibi50,000100,000
Girls Exploration Lite10,00050,000
Drawing Lessons Subway Surfers10,00050,000
Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf10,00050,000
Flash Slither Skin IO10,00050,000
Invisible Slither Skin IO10,00050,000
Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago10,00050,000
Drawing Lessons Lego Chima5,00010,000
Temple Bandicoot Jungle Run1,0005,000
Blockcraft 3D1,0005,000
Jungle Survival Craft 1.01,0005,000
Easy Draw Octonauts1,0005,000
Draw X-Men5001,000
Virtual Family – Baby Craft5001,000
Mine Craft Slither Skin IO5001,000
Guide Clash IO100500
Invisible Skin for Slither IO app100500
Zombie Island Craft Survival100500
Jurassic Survival Craft Game100500
Players Unknown Battle Ground100500
Subway Bendy Ink Machine Game100500
Shin Hero Boy Adventure Game100500
Temple Runner Castle Rush100500
Dragon Shell for Super Slither100500
Flash Skin for Slither IO app50100
Pixel Survival – Zombie Apocalypse50100
Fire Skin for Slither IO app1050
San Andreas Gangster Crime1050
Stickman Fighter 20181050
Subway Run Surf1050
Guide Vikings Hunters1050
Woody Pecker1050
Pack of Super Skins for Slither1050
Spinner Toy for Slither1050
How to Draw Coco and The Land of the Dead1050
How to Draw Dangerous Snakes and Lizards Species15
How to Draw Real Monster Trucks and Cars15
How to Draw Animal World of The Nut Job 215
How to Draw Batman Legends in Lego Style15

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