Pornographic adverts and images have been found in children’s apps that have been downloaded millions of times on the Google Play store.
More than 60 apps, which included children’s characters such as Lightning McQueen from Disney’s Cars, were infected with malware that sent malicious, adult-themed adverts to smartphones upon which the games were installed.
The virus, dubbed AdultSwine, made pop up adverts with adult pictures appear in the middle of children’s video games and in some instances, prompted users to download fake anti-virus apps.
AdultSwine also hijacked user phone numbers to send premium text messages which charged money to the account associated with the phone number.
Security researchers Check Point, who discovered the bug, said AdultSwine was a “particularly insidious malware able to cause emotional distress and financial fraud”.