Apps pushing porn ads in children games removed


Apps pushing porn ads in children games removed

By Ann Mawathe

We know by now that the internet is not safe for children and most parents struggle with where to draw the line even as the constant battle for privacy and safety rages.

You can hardly see the dangers unless you pay close attention to what your children are doing online. The dangers are always there, lurking in the adverts, apps and even in some of the cartoon characters that our children love. Other times, your children are sold toys, clothes and now, it turns out, pornography woven into the content that they are exposed to.

Research by Check Point established that kids were exposed to a malware that displays porn ads in game applications found on Google Play Store.

Check Point provides cyber threat intelligence to its software customers. The code that was found in Google Play Store hides itself in around 60 apps, some that are used by children. The malware is aptly named Adultswine.

Upon clicking on the apps that have been infected, they display numerous pop-ups that include adverts with sexual images. Others were directing users to questionable security software.

The games that were listed have since been removed from the Google Play Store. That will not affect those who had already downloaded the infected apps.

According to a spokesperson; “We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them. We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.”

The complex manner in which the apps function only mean that it will be difficult to detect them. An innocent download of a Sudoku 6 game for instance reveals how sneaky these ads are. The interface raises no eyebrows, but on the background, it connects to other sites that link to pornographic content.

These activities generate revenue for the developers of the malicious malware through affiliate fees.

While Google has a process that ensures apps are scanned before they are loaded into the Play Store, malware is not always easy to detect.

Malware, the short name for malicious software, is often created for the sole purpose of making money through advertising, stealing sensitive information or to extort money.

Some of the apps that were infected with the malware are; Mcqueen Car Racing Game, Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE, Drawing Lessons Angry Birds, Five Nights Survival Craft among others.

It is not the first time that malicious applications have nested on the Google Play Store and it is unlikely this will be the last. Last year, Check Point found 303 malicious apps in the Play Store.

How do you protect your children?

One of the ways to protect children from suspicious malware is by making sure that you have security software on their devices.

If they had downloaded the infected apps, you can delete them and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity like pop-ups that prompt them to download antivirus software. Another way of identifying them is through the pornographic ads.

Parents are advised to download apps from Google’s family program.

But what if it is you who downloaded some of the infected apps? There is every likelihood that you will be getting a visit from the IT guys in your office if you used a company computer seeking to know why you are visiting pornographic sites.

If they come your way, just show them this story and ask them to help you get rid of AdultSwine.

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