Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Contact Centers Business Intelligence More Topics...
Mobile Apps
24/7/365 Network Uptime
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:





 Mobile Apps
1.   Facebook To Force Use of Messenger
2.   Salesforce App Personalizes the Sale
3.   Win Phone 8.1 Update Already on Way
4.   Target App Makes Shopping a Snap
5.   MixRadio To Spin Off from Microsoft


advertisement
Salesforce App Personalizes the Sale
New CRM and sales automation tools.
Average Rating:
Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
34 institutions, four European countries
Average Rating:
Mobile Apps Offer Last-Minute Deals
Along with spontaneity and surprise.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
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.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
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.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions of Users at Risk
Having this fake ID is nothing to brag about, even if you are a minor. The “Fake ID” Android flaw drops malware into smartphone apps. It can steal credit card data and even take over your device.
 
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

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.