Menu
Google removes 'porn clicker' malware from Play Store

Google removes 'porn clicker' malware from Play Store

The fake apps visit porn sites in order to click on ads

Google has removed more than 50 apps that contain a malware component that clicks on ads on pornographic websites.

Google has removed more than 50 apps that contain a malware component that clicks on ads on pornographic websites.

Google has removed dozens of apps from its Play Store that purport to be games but secretly click on advertisements on pornographic websites.

Security company Eset found 51 new apps that contained the "porn clicker" component, which it first discovered in April in a fake app mimicking a video app called Dubsmash.

Over the last three months, some 60 fake apps have been downloaded 210,000 times, showing how common it is for users to stumble across and download them.

"Following ESET's notification, Google has pulled the malware from the Play Store and also reports some of them as potentially harmful applications using its built-in security service," wrote Lukas Stefanko, an Eset malware researcher.

The bogus apps do not try to steal authentication credentials. If downloaded, the application presents itself as game or system application. It runs in the background and accesses porn websites and clicks on ads. The app could eat up data allowances on a person's mobile phone account.

Google scans apps uploaded to its Play Store using technology called Bouncer. The automated scan checks an app for five minutes, performing a dynamic analysis of its code, according to Trend Micro. But apps that do not misbehave in that time period may not be caught.

Although Google can catch malicious apps, malware authors have become more clever in finding ways to avoid Bouncer, which has apparently happened with the porn clicker applications.

This time around, bogus versions of Dubsmash were uploaded again along with fake versions of other legitimate apps including Pou 2, Clash of Clans 2, Subway Surfers 2, Subway Surfers 3, Minecraft 3, Flappy Birds and Hay Day 2. The harmful apps were available for almost a week.

Since it's hard for users to see if an app is malicious, Eset recommended that people pay close attention to the reviews of apps, which may provide a clue if a particular app is suspicious.

"Hopefully, Google is doing its best to fix this issue and find a way to prevent the developers of these porn clickers from publishing them to the Play Store," Eset wrote.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityGoogleeset

Featured

Slideshows

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kick-start 2018. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018
Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Show Comments