Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

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'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 said.

Security researchers on Friday disclosed the existence of malicious code buried inside dozens of apps that displayed pornographic images to users.

"Kotlin is described as concise, drastically reducing the amount of boilerplate code; safe, because it avoids entire classes of errors such as null pointer exceptions; interoperable for leveraging existing libraries for JVM, Android, and the browser; and tool-friendly because of its capability to choose any Java IDE or build from the command line", Trend Micro researchers said in a blog.

Inducing users to register for premium services at the user's expense.

The respective pages of the malicious apps on Google Play already had negative user reviews warning other users about the display of inappropriate content in advertisements.

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Affected apps include Five Nights Survival Craft, with between 1 million and 5 million downloads, and Mcqueen Car Racing Game, which has been downloaded at least 500,000 times. "Along with encouraging users to download scareware and pay for premium services, "AdultSwine' also stole credentials", the Check Point researchers noted". Google Play is the only way to download and install applications on Android devices without changing the device's application setting to "allow the installation of non-market applications".

Google Play bans software that promotes sexually explicit content, and the company has safeguards in place to prevent malware-laden apps from infiltrating the platform.

Attempting to trick users into installing fake "security apps". However, the security firm warns that this malicious activity might not end here. 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.

First discovered and reported by security firm CheckPoint, AdultSwine was found in apps named "Drawing Lessons Angry Birds", "Temple Crash Jungle Bandicoot", "Fidget Spinner Toy", and more.

While Google is actively scanning the Play Store for malicious coding and malware, there are challenges with keeping that coding out of the app store. The apps affected aren't part of the family program.

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