Pornographic malware found in Android apps for kids

Google has removed from its Google Play Store more than 60 gaming apps, many seemingly targeted at kids, that contained malware that showed pornographic ads.

Researchers from security firm Check Point discovered the malware, called AdultSwine, in apps that have been downloaded more than 3 million times, according to a report released Friday.

The gaming apps include titles such as Mcqueen Car Racing Game, Subway Banana Run Surf, and Paw Puppy Run Subway Surf.

An individual or group of hackers created these malicious games under fake publisher names to distribute their malware and make money off the scheme, Check Point researcher Daniel Padon told CNN Tech.

Once downloaded, the malicious apps displayed “highly pornographic” pop-up advertisements in a new web page, and attempted to scare users into installing fake security apps. It also intended to get users to buy worthless premium services, the researchers found.

According to Check Point, Google removed the malicious apps hours after they were notified of the issue.

“We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them,” a Google spokesperson told CNN Tech. “We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.”

One user said in a comment on the Google Play Store that his son saw pornographic content on one of the apps, according to Check Point’s findings.

The malware was not found in apps that are a part of Google’s “Designed for Families” program. Google staffers manually review apps designed for children. Apps made primarily for kids under 13 must participate in this program, according to the company’s website.

Google said the malicious advertisements did not come from its ad network.

Despite Google’s security precautions, malicious apps can find their way into the Google Play Store. Check Point found 303 malicious apps in the Play Store last year.

Android users should make sure they download apps from known developers and parents of young users are urged to download apps from Google’s family program. Padon also suggested checking apps’ reviews before downloading. But some malware authors create fake reviews to make their apps seem legitimate.

Follow this story

Florida bill cracks down on leaving children alone in cars

Some lawmakers are looking to make big changes concerning leaving children in cars.

A new bill making its way through the Florida legislature, aims to make it illegal to leave a child alone in a car, even for just for a moment.

Current Florida law says you can leave a child alone in a car for up to 15 minutes. That’s anyone under the age of 6. Under the new bill, parents could be charged with a misdemeanor if they leave their child alone for any length of time.
 
If passed, parents could face a second-degree misdemeanor. The proposed bill would not only give police officers the right to remove your child if they are left behind for just a few minutes. Officers could turn them over to the Department of Children and Families if they can’t find the parents. 
 
Danielle Kessenger with Safe Kids Northeast Florida said in a 10 minute time frame, the inside of your car can rise 20 degrees on a 72 degree day.
 
“People really should think about- is that the car is not a babysitter. The car is not a playground. The car is a means of getting from here to there. We should really use it as such and be cautious,” said Kessenger.
 
The bill also calls for a third-degree felony if the child is badly hurt. If this were to pass, it would take effect this October. 

Follow this story

Boy suffering from Cystic fibrosis gets special visit to Zoo Miami

The animals at Zoo Miami made the wild kingdom dreams of a young boy suffering from Cystic fibrosis come true on Friday.

The Make-A-Wish foundation helped grant the wish of 8-year-old Ryland, a boy from Colorado Springs who had always wanted to meet alligators and crocodiles.

Thanks to the foundation and Zoo Miami, Ryland received a special private tour; getting up close and personal with reptiles, rhinos, giraffes and other creatures from the animal world.

For his wish, Ryland wanted to experience things he would “never be able to do on his own.”

As part of his five-day visit to South Florida, Ryland will go fishing in Key Largo and tour Everglades National Park.

Cystic fibrosis produces a thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and also blocks the pancreas, which prevents the normal breakdown of food. The lifelong disease affects more than 30,000 children in the United States,

Since 1983, Make-A-Wish South Florida has granted 11,000 wishes to children with critical illnesses.

Follow this story

Washington state offers third gender option on birth certificates

Washington state residents who don’t identify as male or female will soon be able to choose X as their gender on birth certificates.

Starting January 27, they will be able to identify as male, female or X on birth certificates. The policy lets Washingtonians change existing documents; it does not apply to new ones.

The rule, announced Thursday by the state Department of Health, defines X as the following:

A gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, genderfluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, Two Spirit, and unspecified.

For adults seeking to change their birth certificate from male to female or vice versa, the rule removes an existing requirement of a doctor’s letter. Minors who want to change their designation must have written consent of their parent or legal guardian and documentation from a licensed health care professional.

Similar birth certificate policies are set to take effect in 2018 in Oregon and California. Such policies reflect growing support for the non-binary community, or people who reject traditional gender binaries such as “man” or “woman.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said a recent report from the LGBTQ advocacy group shows that 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ, and more young people are rejecting traditional binaries.

In light of such attitudes, “it is vital that states catch up and acknowledge the reality of the non-binary community,” she said.

Support for such policies are especially meaningful in America’s current sociopolitical climate, she added.

“With LGBTQ people and especially trans and non-binary Americans under attack daily by the Trump Administration, as evidenced by Trump’s efforts to block trans Americans from serving in the military and rescinding of Title IX protections for trans students, designation ‘X’ is a powerful and reaffirming sign that our identities cannot and will not be erased.”

Moreover, LGBTQ advocates say that allowing people to update their gender markers can reduce the risk of harassment and discrimination they experience when their physical appearance does not match the gender on their identification.

According to a 2012 survey of transgender Americans, 40% of respondents said they experienced harassment when they presented any kind of identification that did not match their gender. Another 3% reported being attacked or assaulted.

Follow this story

Baby born premature at 13 ounces to head home from South Florida hospital

One of the tiniest babies born in South Florida is going home, thanks to her parents’ dedication and the hard work of doctors at Baptist Children’s Hospital.

At 26 weeks, Lailie was born weighing just 13 ounces Aug. 12 at Baptist Children’s Hospital.

“She’s been through a lot, but she’s still here,” said Lailie’s mother, Jaksiri Ruiz-Toledo. “She’s a fighter.”

“This baby’s main challenge was not so much the prematurity, but the physical size,” Dr. Andrew Kairalla said. “Babies at 26 weeks have a very good chance of survival here, but this baby was undergrown due to a lot of complications that mom was having with her pregnancy.”

Lailie’s dad said he’d never seen a baby so tiny, and he was worried.

“She was so small … I really didn’t know if she was going to make it through the first day,” Marcos Ruiz-Toledo said.

The neonatal intensive care unit team at Baptist Children’s Hospital spent the last four months caring for Lailie, one of the tiniest babies to beat all odds.

Now, months later, weighing 5.1 pounds, baby Lailie will head home just in time to celebrate the New Year.

“I knew that God was there for us, and I knew that this baby would come out well,” Lailie’s mom said.

Follow this story

5-year-old boy calls 911 to report the Grinch stealing Christmas

TyLon Pittman, 5, of Byram, Mississippi, was watching a Christmas video and thought the Grinch was going to ruin his Christmas, so he called 911, Mississippi News Now reported.

“He calls people all the time,” his mother, Teresa Brown-Pittman, told the TV station. “If he gets your number, he’s going to call you and blow you up; but to dial 911, oh my God, no.”

The Byram Police Department was ready to help TyLon.

On Monday, the Grinch was arrested and escorted into a holding cell by TyLon and Officer Lauren Develle, the Clarion Ledger reported.

“I asked (TyLon) if he saw the Grinch, what would he do, and he said he’d call us and get us to come take him to jail,” Develle told the Ledger. “So, I ended up looking around and I found him.”

“You have saved Christmas for the people of Byram,” the Grinch told TyLon. “Your bravery is unmatched.”

Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson gave TyLon a Grinch doll and a promise.

“When you turn 21, come back and I’m going to give you a job application,” Thompson said.

According to the Mississippi News Now report, TyLon released the Grinch from his holding cell after he decided the Grinch had enough time to think about his actions.

TyLon asked the Grinch, “Why are you stealing Christmas?”

But the Grinch just shrugged his shoulders, the Ledger reported.

Follow this story