Google has recently removed over 60 gaming apps from its Google Play Store, many seemingly targeted at kids, that contained malware displaying pornographic adverts.
Researchers from the 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 publishers name to distribute their malware and make money off the scheme, Check Point researcher, Daniel Padon, told CNN Tech.
Once these apps were downloaded, the malicious apps displayed "highly pornographic" pop-up advertisement 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 issues. "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."
Google said the malicious advertisements did not come from its ad network. Despite the 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.