AdultSwine malware displays adult-themed ads for kids

AdultSwine malware detected on Google Play Store hiding under game apps

AdultSwine malware displays adult-themed ads for kids

Another Android virus[1] was recently discovered on Google Play Store. Known as AdultSwine, malware was hiding under 60 game apps. However, parents should check their kid's smartphones and make sure that they are not using one of the compromised apps which display inappropriate adult-themed pictures.

According to Check Point research data,[2] AdultSwine malware is designed to display ads pornographic ads. However, it might also try to threaten users into installing questionable or fake security apps or tricking into signing up for the premium services.

Due to the fact that some of the affected apps were targeted at kids, this Android malware becomes extremely dangerous. Kids are not only exposed to inappropriate content but might become victims of numerous other cyber crimes.

Behaviour and tasks of the AdultSwine malware

When users downloaded Subway Banana Run Surf, HalloweenMakeUp, Mcqueen Car Racing Game or another infected app from Google Play Store, malware collects Android smartphone’s or tablet’s information and sends it to the Command and Control (C&C) server. When it responds with specific tasks, the virus starts executing them.

As we have mentioned, it has three major tasks:

  • display inappropriate and illegal adult-themed ads;
  • promote fake security apps;register for premium services.

Malware is designed to check which apps are in use of the affected device because it does not display shocking content over specific apps, for instance, social networks. However, it has two main sources from where ads are delivered on the affected device.

However, when it shows them, it has two main sources from where ads are delivered – ad providers that banned such ads and malware's ad library.

Additionally, authors of AdultSwine try to scare victims of installing security apps[3] that might not only be useless, but dangerous too. Typically, it delivers an alert on the browser telling about virus infection on the device.

In order to make this notification reliable, crooks use Google’s credentials and design, as well as give the name of victim’s device. However, it’s just a scam that tricks into installing unknown apps that might be spyware or malware.

Moreover, victims of this Android virus might also find their phone bills increased. Malware is known for being capable of registering for various premium services. Usually, the malware displays some ads congratulating for winning iPhone or other expensive gadgets. However, in order to claim a prize people have to fill a short survey.

However, malware just spread survey scams to obtain naive users’ phone numbers that might be used for signing up for unknown services.

Make sure that your Android phone was not infected

60 infected apps were downloaded from 3 million to 7 million times, Google Play statistics say. If you or your kids have installed particular gaming apps, you should make sure that it’s not on the list of compromised apps.

The major symptom of Android virus is the appearance of adult-themed advertisements and pop-ups.[4] If you are bothered by obscene ads, you should scan the device with a legit mobile security program.

In order to avoid similar infections in the future (we can assure that there will be many of them!), you should always read user reviews and check information about developers online before installing the app. Negative feedback should stop you from installing a game or another application no matter how useful or entertaining it might seem.

Unfortunately, malicious apps can bypass Google’s security. However, you should still stay away from third-party app stores.[5] Chances that they include dangerous content are higher than encountering malware in Google Play Store.

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Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

Jake Doevan is one of News Editors for He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College , Communication and Journalism studies.

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