All together, the apps-which include gaming- and drawing-related titles-were downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times. "We've removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them".
Although the apps would likely be most appealing to kids, Google says that they wouldn't have appeared in what Play calls its Designed for Families section, where it recommends safe, appropriate ads for children. Security firm Check Point uncovered the malicious bug that showed porn in game apps.
Once the infected app is installed on a device, it waits for a user to unlock the screen or start the phone in order to initiate the attack.
Along with encouraging users to download scareware and pay for premium services, AdultSwine also stole users' credentials, according to Check Point.
Image Check Point
The researchers also discovered that the malicious code can move laterally within the phone's infrastructure, opening the door for other attacks, such as user password theft.
The country's biggest lender SBI's official "SBI Anywhere Personal" app is also on the malware's radar. 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.
The cull came soon after Check Point found the malicious code lurking within apps and games that were specifically geared toward younger users. "While in some cases this link is merely an advertisement, it could also lead to whatever social engineering scheme the hacker has in mind".
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.
Effective protection from attack by these malware-infected games requires users to install advanced mobile threat defence on all mobile devices.
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