Tech

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

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

The apps contained code dubbed "AdultSwine", Check Point Research said Friday. Check Point characterized the material as pornographic. The apps were downloaded between three and seven million times before the infection was caught.

An update to the Google Duo video calling app means that you can now make both audio and video calls to people who don't have the app installed. The ads were not Google ads, according to Google.

The malware was not found in apps that are a part of Google's "Designed for Families" program.

The most shocking element of this malware is that it is capable of causing pornographic ads from the attacker's ad library to pop up on the screen without warning, above legitimate game apps.

After being advised about the malware, in addition to removing the apps from the Google Play store, Check Point said Google took "prompt action" to disable the developers' accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to any users that still have the apps installed. After the fake "ads" were delivered, users would have received a "Remove Virus Now" notification, or something similar, created to provoke users into downloading the scareware.

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It said games and apps intended for children were a new target for cyber criminals that targeted hospitals, businesses and governments in the past.

A complete list of the affected apps is available in Check Point's report. If the user clicks through, the malicious code eventually asks him to enter his phone number to receive the "prize", which, of course, is a ploy.

For those interested in the intricacies, it's App Preview Messaging that's making all this possible - it is a Google Play Services feature that was launched back in 2016.

The code could even do more damage, as Check Point noted that AdultSwine "also has a potentially much wider range of malicious activities that it can pursue, all relying on the same common concept".

The games included "Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf", "Shin Hero Boy Adventure Game, ' 'Drawing Lessons Lego Ninjago, ' and 'Addon Sponge Bob for MCPE". Google staffers manually review apps designed for children.