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

by: Andrew GrushJune 24, 2014

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.

[quote qtext=”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.” qperson=”Brian Kenyon” qsource=”McAfee Chief Technical Strategist” qposition=”center”]

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.

  • Jayfeather787

    Waste of storage.

  • Worst of all, a few months ago I opened one of those apps that scrape sites like Flickr for photos and the app bombarded me to get me to download their Flappy Bird clone. Naturally, I quit the app as my few native games and DOSBox emulator are enough for me :)

  • MasterMuffin

    That last sentence should be in bold :D

  • zamuz

    I’m starting to think there are some very frustrated Android developers writing for Android Authority. I can’t think of any other explanation for all the hate Flappy Bird still gets around here. The world has moved on, its creator too. You people need to let it go as well. I get that blaming this malware situation on Flappy Bird is kind of playful, but by now it just sounds petty. Cut it out, please.

    • i_say_uuhhh

      Agreed, if you don’t like the game then leave it alone. I personally have never played the game because I don’t play games on my phone, but my nephew seems to enjoy it. I also laugh at the fact that he seems to want to blame the Flappy Bird creators for others trying to copy them and putting viruses in the games that the creators themselves had nothing to do with.

  • FF

    There are a number of clones of ‘Don’t Tap the White Tile” and “2048” on the Play Store that has malware.