More proof Flappy Bird is evil: over 250 clones reportedly packing malware

June 24, 2014
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Flappy Bird Rejected Apps

There’s already enough reasons to hate Flappy Bird, from its ultra-hard gameplay to horrible graphics and all the media attention such an idiotic game managed to get. If that’s not enough of a reason to generate disdain for the craze, here’s one more: reportedly 80% of all Flappy Bird clones tested by security firm McAfee contained some form of malware.

In total, the McAfee engineers discovered 270 malware-infected apps, which is actually a small sampling when you consider just how many Flappy clones are out there across the globe for iOS, Android and even platforms like Windows Phone and Windows 8.x.

As you probably guessed, the majority of the infected apps are made for Android phones. McAfee doesn’t clarify if they were actually found in the Google Play store or through more vulnerable 3rd party app stores. It’s also important to point out that McAfee is in the anti-virus software business, so it’s their job to make people fear the possibility of being infected by malware.

80% of all Flappy Bird clones tested by security firm McAfee contained some form of malware

As for what the malware does? The most common event caused by the malware is the ability for premium calls to be made without permission. Some other fairly common issues included malware that could send texts to SMS addresses to collect money, or the ability to give away a user’s location for scams involving credit card information.

You can't sell a stolen credit card number from California to a guy in Florida, because if he buys gas with it and then an hour later the real owner buys groceries in California, the security system kicks in. If stolen cards go only to people in a nearby ZIP code, it can take much longer for anyone to realize there's a problem. It increases their worth on the black market.
Brian Kenyon
McAfee Chief Technical Strategist

The takeaway here is three-fold. First, as always, you should check permissions and make sure you understand what you are allowing when you first install an app. Second, always download from trusted sources like the Google Play store. And thirdly, Flappy Birds is evil and should be avoided at all cost.

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