Besides displaying pornographic ads, Check Point also found the malicious code would attempt to trick the user into downloading fake security apps, as well as attempt to phish their phone number, which it would then use to sign the user up for a premium service.
Google Play has removed 63 apps, many of them children's games, from its store after "inappropriate" adult-themed ads would appear as a result of malware. The apps contained code dubbed "AdultSwine", Check Point Research said Friday.
Affected apps include Five Nights Survival Craft, with between 1 million and 5 million downloads, and Mcqueen Car Racing Game, which has been downloaded at least 500,000 times. Security firm Check Point uncovered the malicious bug that showed porn in game apps.
Last year, an outcry over disturbing videos aimed at children forced YouTube to terminate the channel ToyFreaks, where a father posted clips of his young daughters screaming in terror, which had gained 8 million followers.
However, with the number of apps on Google Play estimated at more than 3m, according to Statista, lurking malicious code is sometimes spotted and reported only by users or cyber security firms. "I did and my son opened it and a bunch off thilthy [sic] hardcore porn pictures popped up".
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'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, ' it said.
Google Play bans software that promotes sexually explicit content, and the company has safeguards in place to prevent malware-laden apps from infiltrating the platform.
When the malicious code is installed onto your phone, it waits for the user to unlock the device to start the malicious activity. It also meant to get users to buy worthless premium services, the researchers found. "Indeed, these plots continue to be effective even today, especially when they originate in apps downloaded from trusted sources such as Google Play".
"We advise parents to verify that apps used by their children are categorized as 'Designed for Families" on Google Play'.