Beware: Some Flappy Bird Clones Are Filled With Malware
If you didn’t get your hands on Flappy Bird before it was pulled from Google Play earlier this week, then you should be careful looking for an alternative. Many of the countless clones that have popped up over the past few days are taking advantage of the game’s success to get malware onto unsuspecting devices.
Security research firm Sophos reports that a number of Flappy Bird clones aren’t as fun as they seem. Some will serve you annoying ads, others will unnecessarily access your personal data, and a small few will install malware on your device that could end up costing you.
One example of this is a clone that disguises itself as the real Flappy Bird app. It’s not available though Google Play — users stumble across it on the Internet when looking for a genuine Android APK. Once installed, it states that a “trial version has expired” and asks users to send a text message to continue playing.
Of course, that text message goes to a premium-rate line, which will cost you a small fortune.
“If you get this far, you should uninstall the app immediately, not least because of other malicious activities it might do later,” Sophos says. The company also notes that even after closing this particular Flappy Bird clone, the app continues to run in the background until it is completely removed from your device.
Trend Micro also discovered apps disguised as the real Flappy Bird that have malicious intentions. Especially rampant in Russia and Vietnam, they are also “premium service abusers” that send text messages in the background without your knowledge.
If you don’t already have the genuine Flappy Bird installed on your Android device, then, you should be very careful about obtaining it. It might be a good idea to ask a friend who has the real thing to send you the APK, rather than trying to find a genuine, untampered version on the Internet.