Science and Tech


Flappy Bird Malware Spreads As Official App Is Discontinued

"Flappy Bird" might be officially gone from app stores, but unofficial copies remain — many of which include malware.
Posted at 3:57 PM, Feb 12, 2014

"Flappy Bird" is no longer flapping through the app stores, but this isn't the last mobile users are seeing of the app.

CNET reports security research firms are tracking multiple clones of the game, identical all the way down to its launch icon. But users aren't just getting "Flappy Bird" — they're getting a payload of malware, too.

Trend Micro explains some versions use this hidden software to send messages out from a victim's phone to premium numbers and racking up the fees on monthly billing statement.

Others have free reign through your SMS history and other potentially sensitive information stored on your phone, if you grant them access during installation. (Via Sophos)

Still others link out to survey sites, which try to part users from their mobile number or credit account details. (Via Malwarebytes)

These flappy vultures are looking to capitalize on the mobile user and media frenzy around the short-lived game, whose creator pulled it from app stores last week when the publicity got to be too much. (Via IGN)

And the craze is apparently still going strong enough to justify stuff like this — eBay auctions for the app, and the hardware that runs it — for sky-high prices.

According to The Next Web, these malicious clones are most common in app stores in Russia and Vietnam. It's dangerous software but is only trouble if you go looking for it.

"In short, Flappy Bird is dead, but the scams are only beginning. Our advice is the same as always when it comes to Android malware: stick to Google Play and only install apps that you know are safe."