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Google Duo update allows you to call people without the app installed

14 January 2018

There are a bunch of apps that make Google's operating system awesome, but what many people don't know is that none of them would work without Play Services.

While some ads showed pornographic images, there were other apps that displayed fake notices which that the phone had been infected by a virus and provided a malicious link to a fake virus cleaner. The malware then uses the number to register for premium services.

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In a statement to the Financial Times, a spokesperson for Google said the company will notify users that they've downloaded the malicious apps.

Check Point has a full list of apps which were affected by the malicious AdultSwine code, including Five Nights Survival Craft and a "Mcqueen Car Racing Game" made to look like a Pixar's Cars movie game, among many others.

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Check Point says AdultSwine could also easily be used for further nefarious acts like credential theft. But the fake security app also contains malicious software, or malware. Google Play is the only way to download and install applications on Android devices without changing the device's application setting to "allow the installation of non-market applications".

In late August of previous year, Google announced some updates to its Android Wear policy which would affect the requirements for an app to obtain an "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge. While the AdultSwine malware games only seem to display ads they receive from the C&C, there could be other unknown intentions of the attacker that are now unknown, possibly, credential theft.

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Fortunately, Google has already removed the fake malware-laced Swift Cleaner app from the Google Play Store. "In fact, the percentage of apps blacklisted by RiskIQ in the Google Play store has decreased, falling to a low of 4 percent in Q3 after reaching a high of 8 percent in Q2". "All these are displayed to children while playing the game that the app is masquerading as", the security firm added. Users have left reviews on the Google Play Store for some of the apps, with one saying, "Don't install for your kids". The apps affected aren't part of the family program.

Google Duo update allows you to call people without the app installed