Games With 3 Million Downloads Found Showing "AdultSwine" Porn Ads

Saul Franklin
January 14, 2018

"Indeed, these plots continue to be effective even today, especially when they originate in apps downloaded from trusted sources such as Google Play".

Upon selecting the 'Remove Virus Now' call to action, the user is directed to another app in the Google Play Store posing as a virus removal solution.

Check Point said AdultSwine caused pornographic images to pop up during the children's games, including in a car-racing game named after the Disney cartoon character Lightning McQueen, which according to Google data had been downloaded at least 500,000 times. The second is the malicious code's own ad library, which contains ads of an offensive nature, including pornographic ads.

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The security firm was able to provide a list of games infected with this malicious code and they have now been removed from the Google Play Store.

Update 12/01/2017 12:55pm ET: Updated with additional comment from Google. While the AdultSwine malware games only seem to display ads they receive from the C&C, there could be other unknown intentions of the attacker that are now unknown, possibly, credential theft. However, the security firm warns that this malicious activity might not end here. To make themselves hard to remove, the infected apps had code to hide their icons. Android's security team is increasingly using machine learning to detect malware in the Google Play store but Android Play Protect, the operating system's security tool, has mixed results in independent tests against competitors. The phone number would be used to register for premium services. According to Check Point, the instructions included displaying the bogus ads, scaring users to install fake security apps and charging victims for services they did not request or receive. "In fact, the percentage of apps blacklisted by RiskIQ in the Google Play store has decreased, falling to a low of 4 percent in Q3 after reaching a high of 8 percent in Q2". They further went on to thank Check Point for their work in keeping their apps safe.

All apps participating in the Designed for Families program must be relevant for children under the age of 13.

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