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This article was published on January 12, 2018

Researchers found porn malware in Google Play children’s games

Researchers found porn malware in Google Play children’s games
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Security firm Check Point today revealed it had discovered malware on the Google Play store disguised as children’s games — malware that gives kids ads not suited for their age group.

Checkpoint’s report on the malware warns it shows pornographic ads which would obscure the actual game, including one featuring a picture of Kim Kardashian — fittingly, the code is called AdultSwine. In some cases, the virus would prompt users to download fake anti-virus software. In others, it would try to trick them into entering their phone number.

According to Reuters, the ads appear in apps with titles aimed at kids, like “Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago.” I’m assuming the thought process is that kids will mindlessly click on a pop-up if they think it will get them back to the game faster — not that adults don’t do that, too.

The games named by the researchers have since been removed from the Google Play Store, though Check Point warns that it likely won’t be the last time parents see such malicious activity:

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

When asked for comment, Google emphasized that none of the malicious apps were part of its Family collection, nor were the ads from Google. According to a spokesperson:

We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them. We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.

Updated with new information from Google.

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