In the month of April last year, a popup alerting users through fake messages appeared that took many users by surprise. It was basically a web advertisement that was used to scare visitors of websites to make them believe that their device has been affected with adware or a possible hacking has taken place. Such a fake popup seemed like this:
** Microsoft Warning Alert **
Malicious Pornographic Spyware/Riskware Detected
Error # 0xx90025ee9
Please call us immediately at: 1-844-473-5341
Do not ignore this critical alert.
If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network.
Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Pornographic Spyware and riskware. The following information is being stolen…
> Financial Data
> Facebook Logins
> Credit Card Details
> Email Account Logins
> Photos stored on this computer
You must contact us immediately so that our expert engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.
Toll Free: 1-844-473-5341
However, with passage of time, such fake pop-up messages were known to almost all users globally. Therefore, the hackers now came up with a new plan which involves targeting the younger minds. Hackers have come up with an ingenious idea to affect children’s Android apps with a malware that causes pornographic adverts to appear.
Majority of the affected apps have been downloaded millions of times on the Google Play store. Number of affected apps amounted more than 60 apps, which included children’s characters such as Lightning McQueen from Disney’s Cars.The ten most popular apps infected by AdultSwine included Five Nights Survival Craft, Mcqueen Car Racing Game, Addon Pixelmon for MCPE, CoolCraft PE, Exploration Pro WorldCraft, San Andreas City Craft, Subway Banana Run Surf, Exploration Lite : Wintercraft, Addon GTA for Minecraft PE and Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE.
Apps that were infected with malware that causes pornographic adverts were sent malicious, adult-themed adverts to smartphones upon which the games were installed.
The malware that was named as “AdultSwine” caused inappropriate adverts to appear on mains screens of children’s applications that are available on Google Play Store. After some of such advertisements, some fake anti-virus software installation messages appeared asking for users to pay to remove such advertisements from screens.
Not only this, AdultSwine also was able to hack various phone numbers on which the affected applications were being used to send fake premium messages that ultimately costed the phone’s user. Security researchers said that such malwares are not only a source of financial fraud but also a source of emotional distress.
Google spokesman was quick to respond to this malware that causes pornographic adverts:
“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.”
Therefore, it is a big question on how to remain safe from such frauds. Well, we have gathered a list for you to stay safe:
- Be suspicious of emails: Warning signs in phishing emails include a sender’s email address appearing strange or not in your contacts book, differences in normal tone, and spelling mistakes.
- Be wary of messages that ask you to do something: Most organisations will never call consumers or send them unsolicited emails or text messages asking them to provide sensitive information or download files.
- Never click on links: Malicious links can be hidden behind text and images that take unsuspecting users to fake websites. If in doubt, type out web addresses, especially when going to a site that will require you to log in.
- Use security tools: Spam-filters can help sift out phishing emails, while antivirus programs and firewalls can spot malicious software before it is downloaded. Users should always apply security updates.
- Check to make sure if hackers have your information: It is good practice to monitor bank statements for fraudulent payments, as well as to use tools such as HaveIBeenPwned.com to see if hackers have accessed your passwords in data breaches.