For parents giving their children Android smartphones or tablets, it’s tough to make sure they’re not being exposed to things they shouldn’t be seeing. Even when you think you’re doing the right thing by sticking to children’s apps and games, you still have to be vigilant.
Take this story from security research firm Check Point who discovered pornographic ads had crept into apps and games for children, some that have been downloaded over a million times. The malicious bug responsible — known as AdultSwine — was found in 60 apps/games, some of which directly targeting children. Games based on popular gaming franchises like Five Nights Survival Craft or McQueen Car Racing Game, a game based on the character from the Disney movie Cars.
The malicious apps wait for the user to boot or unlock their device, after which full screen pop up ads will be shown, some pretending to be viruses and prompting the user to download another app from the Play Store, or fake prizes where they’ll use the person’s phone number to sign up for premium services. In a statement, Google says they’ve already removed the offending apps and recommend parents stick to their Family collection in the Play Store to find age-appropriate content.
“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.”
It’s worth pointing out that the apps affected by AdultSwine were not part of Google’s Family program. Google points out that they manually review ads for each app/game in their Family collection and have strict category blocks to ensure a safe experience. For a full list of the offending apps, you’ll find them in Check Point’s post linked below.
via Check Point Research | The Verge | Financial Times