Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Contact Centers Business Intelligence More Topics...
GET RECOGNIZED.
Let an ISACA® certification
elevate your career.

Register today and save
Network Security
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Fake Flappy Bird Will Peck a Hole in Your Wallet
Fake Flappy Bird Will Peck a Hole in Your Wallet

By Jennifer LeClaire
February 12, 2014 10:17AM

Bookmark and Share
Apart from premium service abuse, some fake Flappy Bird apps also pose risks of information leakage for the users since they send out the phone numbers, carriers, and Gmail addresses registered in the devices. Other fake versions of Flappy Bird have payment features added into the originally free app.
 



Flappy Bird is making massive headlines this week after its creator took the game down because it was so addictive. Gamers started looking for the popular app elsewhere and some got more than they bargained for: malware.

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of Flappy Bird flying away and are pushing out clones that contain malicious software. It’s reportedly hard to tell the difference between the real game and the fake. But the phony apps are sending expensive text messages using a victim’s phone number.

“All of the fake versions we’ve seen so far are premium service abusers -- apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements,” Veo Zhang, a mobile threats analyst at Trend Micro, wrote in a blog post. “The fake Flappy Bird app asks for the additional read/send text messages permissions during installation -- one that is not required in the original version.”

How it Works

While the user is busy playing the game, this malware stealthily connects to a C&C [command & control] server through Google Cloud Messaging to receive instructions, Zhang reports. Trend Micro’s analysis of the malware revealed that through this routine, the malware sends text messages and hides the notifications of received text messages with certain content.

“Apart from premium service abuse, the app also poses a risk of information leakage for the user since it sends out the phone number, carrier, Gmail address registered in the device,” Zhang said. “Other fake versions we’ve seen have a payment feature added into the originally free app. These fake versions display a pop up asking the user to pay for the game. If the user refuses to play, the app will close.”

A Viral Marketing Boost

Paul Ducklin, a security researcher at Sophos, said allowing "off-market" app installs is a non-default option, and it produces a fairly stern warning from Google if you try to activate it. Ducklin said that the original Flappy Bird was free, with no trial period or fee, and the author made his money through ads presented by the game, not by selling the app.

“But, like writers, musicians and artists whose popularity surges when they die, Flappy Bird enjoyed a bigger-than-ever viral marketing boost upon its demise,” he wrote in a blog post. “So it's possible, even likely, that otherwise conservative users have been turning on the ‘unknown sources' feature so they can take a belated look at what the Flappy Bird fuss is all about.”

Using Common Sense

We caught up with Graham Cluley, an independent security analyst in London, to get his take on the latest Flappy Bird news. He told us it’s always better to buy Android apps directly from the official Google Play store -- and this is a good example of why.

“Although there have been cases of malware and shady apps getting into the official store, generally it's a lot safer to download Android apps from there than elsewhere. Wherever you source your Android apps from, always check the permissions that your app requests,” he said.

“You should ask yourself, would a simple game really need to send -- potentially expensive -- SMS messages? A little common sense can go a long way,” he added.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:





 Network Security
1.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
2.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
3.   Dropbox for Business Boosts Security
4.   Hackers Breached StubHub Accounts
5.   Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware


advertisement
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
Study identifies 3 browser techniques.
Average Rating:
Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
34 institutions, four European countries
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Samsung Postpones Launch of Tizen Phone
The possibility that the Tizen operating system can survive is dropping. So the scheduled third-quarter launch in Russia of the Samsung Z smartphone, which is designed for the mobile OS, is being postponed.
 
Verizon Plans Throttling for 'Unlimited' Bandwidth Hogs
In what could be an opportunity for competing wireless carriers, Verizon is throttling data speeds on unlimited 4G plans because of more consumer demand for high-speed data networks.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Contact Centers | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.