Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Google removes 60 apps from the Play Store that hid pornographic ads

Google removes 60 apps from the Play Store that hid pornographic ads

"We appreciate Check Point's work to help keep users safe", said the spokesperson.

It can be downloaded only from Google Play Store or by scanning the QR Code on SBI's website.

Google removed the affected apps from the Google Play app store soon after Check Point reported the issue. Whereas previously, apps could qualify simply by implementing enhanced notifications, Google's planned policy change for January 18th, 2018 imposed some stricter restrictions. 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.

When the malicious code is installed onto your phone, it waits for the user to unlock the device to start the malicious activity.

It does this by contacting the developers' Command and Control server once the app has been downloaded, sends data about the infected device and gets back instructions on what to do next.

According to Android Police, the option to call users is included in the latest update, with an "Instant App" like experience called App Preview Messaging that's part of Google Play services letting fellow Android users answer calls through Duo.

After being advised about the malware, in addition to removing the apps from the Google Play store, Check Point said Google took "prompt action" to disable the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to any users that still have the apps installed. Check Point found 303 malicious apps in the Play Store previous year.

The malware, dubbed AdultSwine by security shop Check Point, was found in apps like "Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars", "Fidget spinner for Minecraft" and "Spinner Toy for Slither", along with a large number of Android games.

Along with encouraging users to download scareware and pay for premium services, AdultSwine also stole users' credentials, according to Check Point. One user says, "Don't install for your kids".

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.

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