At least one of the many Flappy Bird clones is reportedly filled with malware, according to Sophos, a security software vendor.
Although it does not appear as though the malware-infected Flappy Bird clones are coming out on on the primary Google Play Store, Sophos says that it has discovered some on alternative Android marketplaces. These marketplaces are used frequently but since they are not controlled by Google, they can be havens for malware.
The particular malicious app that Sophos found was tricking users into sending out premium text messages, which could easily result in a massive phone bill for the unsuspecting user.
Many of the legitimate Flappy Bird alternatives that have come out do not feature an exact copy of the original, but the malware-infected one that Sophos looked at was just like the actual Flappy Bird game.
We advise Android users (especially those who are keen to download the now ‘extinct’ Flappy Bird app) to be careful when installing apps…Cybercriminals are constantly cashing in on popular games (like Candy Crush, Angry Birds Space, Temple Run 2, and Bad Piggies) to unleash mobile threats. – Sophos
After becoming immensely popular within a matter of weeks, Flappy Bird was taken off of the iOS and Android app stores by its creator, Dong Nguyen. The attention that Nguyen received as a result of the game’s popularity was reportedly enough for him to make the decision to take the game down. Prior to the removal however, Nguyen was making as much as $50,000 per day from in-app advertising, due to the sheer number of users that Flappy Bird attracted.
Due to the large amount of attention that both Flappy Bird and Nguyen received, there are thousands (if not millions) of people searching for alternatives to the addictive game. Since many of those alternatives are not on the official Google Play Store, it would be wise to take Sophos’ advise when trying out a new app from an alternative source.
Summary: At least one clone of Flappy Bird is filled with malware that aims to ruin a user’s device while also racking up charges. Unlike the legitimate Flappy Bird alternatives, this game is found on an unofficial app store and not on the Google Play Store.
Image Credit: sophos