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Flappy Bird Clones Possibly Contain Malware

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Do you have Flappy Bird-like clones installed on your mobile phone? If you do, then there is a great chance that your smartphone has already been infected by malware.

That is according to McAfee Labs, a computer security software company based in Santa Clara, California. In the June report published by the firm, mobile malware developers are said to have been aggressively integrating malware into Flappy Bird-like applications. Apparently, they have been taking advantage of the addiction of users to the game.

The original ?Flappy Bird? game was developed by Dong Nguyen which was first released in the iOS mid-2013 and earlier this year on Android. The game instantly became a huge hit having more than 50 million downloads. Earlier this year, Nguyen decided to pull out the app from the marketplace. Since then, there have been numerous Flappy Bird clones released in the market.

In the report, McAfee Labs took a sample of 300 Flappy Bird clones from the market. Out of the 300, the firm rated 238 samples as malicious. That amounts to almost 80 percent of all copies!

Some of the clones tested that were discovered to be malicious were ?Fly Bird?, ?Flappy Penguin?, and the Flappy Bird clone from com.touch18.flappybird.app.

Among the malicious behavior discovered in the clones are the following:

  • Makes calls without user?s permission
  • Installs additional applications without the user?s permission
  • Allows an app to monitor incoming SMS messages and to record or process them (undeclared permission)
  • Sends SMS messages without the user?s permission
  • Extracts SMS messages
  • ?Sends data to a cell number via SMS
  • Allows an app to read the user?s contacts data (undeclared permission)
  • Extracts GPS location (latitude and longitude)
  • Reads IMEI number and MAC address and transmits then to third parties (JSON) without user?s permission
  • Sends user activity data to third-party sites
  • Allows an app to call the killBackgroundProcesses(String) (underclared permission)

Yikes! If this is true, then users with their mobile phones infected are at risk. Not only do these malware invade our privacy, but we also unwillingly and unknowingly share access to our private stuff. This also entails unwanted phone bill charges.

The report also illustrates that mobile malware is continuing its rapid increase and effectiveness, which more than doubled in a span of a year. Mobile devices are easy targets for malware developers, the report says.

We should be constantly aware of the actions we do on our phones to prevent these malware from installing into our mobiles. Being aware where we acquire and install applications, and common sense will surely help you mitigate the risk of being a victim of these malware developers.

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