Android malware pushes Kim Kardashian porn pop-up to children's gaming apps

Pat Wise
January 13, 2018

In June 2017, Google added a new Editor's Choice section to its Play Store, which along with curating lists of apps and games, also featured a quarterly list of the best Android apps and games. Although to make a Duo call you have to install the Google Duo App.

One of the displayed ads.

Scare users into installing fake "security apps". 1Tap is basically an expense tracking and book-keeping app.

Upon installation, AdultSwine waits to initiate its attack until a boot occurs or when the user unlocks their phone. It can also mislead the user to believe they've won a free iPhone and submit their phone number to receive their prize. The attacker then selects which of the three malicious actions to take and then displays it on the device owner's screen.

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Its first possible technique involves displaying pornographic pop-up ads over the legitimate game app without warning. In that instance, the button was titled with a seductive: "Remove virus now". "We appreciate Check Point's work to help keep users safe".

According to Check Point's researchers, AdultSwine is a particularly insidious malware because it is found in apps from trusted sources and can cause emotional distress and financial loss. "It also has a much wider range of malicious activities it could potentially pursue", Check Point said. "While in some cases this link is merely an advertisement, it could also lead to whatever social engineering scheme the hacker has in mind".

The scareware "virus removal" tool has also been removed from Google Play for using inappropriate marketing tactics to drive installs. Duo users can now make calls to other users who do not have the app installed on their smartphones.

Check Point said it expected AdultSwine and similar malware to be repeated and imitated by hackers, warning users to be extra vigilant when installing apps, especially those intended for use by children.

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