Flappy Apps Give Users the Angry Bird

Crackers crowd app stores with malware-laden fakes.

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Sadistic software switchers

Sadistic software switchers have been known to swap in malicious versions of these seven popular mobile apps.

RELATED: Attackers have cloned malware-laden copies of the most popular apps your employees use

01 flappy bird
Credit: Google Play
Flappy Bird for Android

Malware-infected Flappy Bird clones appeared in unofficial Android app stores after game creator Dong Nguyen pulled the legitimate program from Google Play, February 2014. McAfee Labs found 240 Flappy Bird clones with malware including examples that owned confidential business information on the infected smartphones, according to McAfee Labs Threat Report, June 2014. The real Flappy Bird took flight again in August 2014 on Amazon Appstore for Android as Flappy Birds Family. When in doubt, check the website and app author and use a quality mobile A/V tool (Avast, McAfee, Norton).

02 bad piggies
Credit: Google
Bad Piggies for Google Chrome

By October 2012, crackers added bogus Bad Piggies to the Google Chrome Store to fool fans (app maker Rovio had not released a Google Chrome version). These little piggies lifted user data, leaving adware behind, according to Sophos. Visit known-good websites such as Rovio.com when searching for apps for your browser or platform.

03 angry birds space
Angry Birds Space for Android

In April 2012, Sophos uncovered an Angry Birds Space clone containing Andr/KongFu-L Trojan Horse malware, which launched GingerBreak, an exploit leveraging root-level device control, according to Sophos. The app tapped remote command & control servers, installing additional malware on unsuspecting users’ smartphones. To avoid hassles, don’t shop unofficial app stores.

04 instagram
Credit: Google
Instagram for Android

As of April 2012, Sophos identified a cloned Instagram app available from a Russian website. The app was loaded with the Andr/Boxer-F malware, which sends premium SMS messages in the background at a high cost to users. Be sure to download Instagram from a legitimate app store such as Google Play.

05 assasains creed
Credit: Android
Assassin’s Creed

As of December 2011, the hacker Logastrod had released malware-infected clones of a baker’s dozen of popular apps on the Android Market, including Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, according to Sophos. Logastrod loaded the apps with an SMS exploit that sent premium texts. Question free, full-featured apps available from suspect sources.

06 world of goo
Credit: Android
World of Goo

As of December 2011, the hacker Logastrod had released malware-infected clones of a baker’s dozen of popular apps on the Android Market, including World of Goo, according to Sophos. Logastrod loaded the apps with an SMS exploit that sent premium texts. Question free, full-featured apps available from suspect sources.