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Kids’ smartphone apps infected by adult content malware

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Kid with a smart phone

John Burger - published on 01/15/18

Google issues warnings and cleans up apps, but cautions that already-downloaded programs may cause porn pop-ups

As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, several children-themed apps contain malware that cause pornographic images to pop up on smart phones unexpectedly.

According to researchers from the cybersecurity firm Checkpoint, some 60 apps that contain the “AdultSwine” malware have already been downloaded up to 7 million times, Inc. reported.

Many of the apps have child-focused names, such as Spinner Toy for Slither and Drawing Lessons Angry Birds.

“When run, the malware causes the apps in which it resides to displays popups—some of which include advertisements containing sexual imagery and others containing ads for fake security software and other problematic items,” Inc. reported. “The ads load from both an AdultSwine-specific library of advertisements as well as from legitimate third-party advertisement providers.”

The report says that Google has removed the infected apps from the Play Store, but that won’t protect any of the millions of people who have already downloaded the apps.

Inc. advises parents to make sure that they and their family members have security software running on all devices; check their kids’ devices for any warnings that Google may have issued, and learn about ways of detecting that a mobile device has been hacked.

The report provides a list of the affected apps, but warns that “thousands” of malware codes are being developed every day.

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