Google has deleted several dozen apps - many of them aimed at kids - after a security firm found that they contain malware that could show pornographic pop-up ads. All together, the apps-which include gaming- and drawing-related titles-were downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times.
The malicious app is called Adult Swine, and Check Point said that the big displays inappropriate and pornographic ads, which are attempts to trick users into installing face security apps, and also attempts to get users to sign up for premium services that are charged directly to the user's account.
The malware also sought to trick users into installing fake security apps, and it could open the door for other attacks such as theft of user credentials, Check Point said.
Google moved immediately to kick those apps out of Google Play. Therefore, Play Services is a key core component to Google's premium user experience.
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It said games and apps intended for children were a new target for cyber criminals that targeted hospitals, businesses and governments in the past.
Check Point has a full list of the affected apps in its post on the issue. "All these are displayed to children while playing the game that the app is masquerading as", the security firm added. This update brings the app's build number to "11.9.73" and its designed especially for beta testers and eager Android fans who want to make sure their smartphone is always running at top performance. If the user clicks through, the malicious code eventually asks him to enter his phone number to receive the "prize", which, of course, is a ploy.
It might, for example, show an ad claiming "the user is entitled to win an iPhone by simply answering four short questions", Check Point explained.
"Although for now this malicious app seems to be a nasty nuisance, and most certainly damaging on both an emotional and financial level, it nevertheless also has a potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept", Check Point warned.