Google deletes 60 apps, many aimed at kids, that showed porn ads

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"It's insidious as it originates in apps downloaded from trusted sources such as Google Play".

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.

In a statement to the Financial Times, a Google spokesperson said "We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them". Then there were some ads that tried to trick the user into giving up their phone number by telling them that they had won a prize.

Following an investigation by security firm Check Point, Google has deleted 60 games from the Play Store that were infected with a malicious bug, which among other things injected pornographic ads into games targeted at children. Google says it also vets every app developer in Google Play. But the fake security app also contains malicious software, or malware.

None of the affected apps were part of Google's "Family Link" program, which is the category of recognised kid-friendly apps available across Google's platforms.

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Such exclusively family-based apps are checked manually by Google for malware and ad content, according to those familiar with the situation, but the AdultSwine code was put out for general release. It might, for example, tell users they could win a "free iPhone" by answering a few questions before prompting them to enter a phone number.

AdultSwine's third malicious activity is to charge the victim's account for fraudulent premium services they did not request. In that instance, the button was titled with a seductive: "Remove virus now".

Games like Fit Nights Survival Craft, McQueen Car Racing Game and Addon Pixelmon for MCPE are believed to be the most popular apps affected by AdultSwine.

Effective protection from attack by these malware-infected games requires users to install advanced mobile threat defence on all mobile devices.

The AdultSwine malware was also capable of vacuuming up login credentials, according to Check Point, which would have been transferred back to a server under the malicious hackers' control.

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