Google has removed dozens of games from its mobile app store after researchers revealed they contained malware that made phones display pornographic pop-up ads.
Roughly 60 gaming applications were recently pulled from the Google Play Store after researchers at Check Point, an Israeli IT company, said they were infected with malicious code that caused “highly inappropriate and pornographic” ads to appear on user’s phones, the firm said Friday.
Referred to as “AdultSwine,” the malware was found in games that had been downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times before they were removed by Google, including several apps intended for children, according to Check Point.
Google apps containing the malware included titles such as “Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf,” “Shin Hero Boy Adventure Game,” “Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago,” and “Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE,” Reuters reported.
“The most shocking element of this malware is its ability to cause pornographic ads (from the attacker’s library) to pop up without warning on the screen over the legitimate game app being displayed,” Check Point explained.
“We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them,” said a Google spokesperson.
In addition to displaying X-rated ads, AdultSwine also attempted to trick users into installing bogus security apps and tried to charge users for fraudulent premium services, Check Point said.
“Apart from these current three main activities, the malicious code can use its infrastructure to broaden its goals to other purposes, such as credential theft,” according to Check Point.
“Due to the pervasive use of mobile apps, ‘AdultSwine’ and other similar malware will likely be continually repeated and imitated by hackers. Users should be extra vigilant when installing apps, particularly those intended for use by children.”