Fake Flappy Bird Apps Are Spreading Malware

Angry man with smartphone

Every few months it seems a new game appears in the App Store and takes the world by storm. The latest trendy mobile app is Flappy Bird, which tasks users with navigating a bird through tunnels. The game became so popular, so quickly, that the developer pulled it from the App Store because he worried it was too addicting. That created a need, however, that can be exploited. CNet’s Don Reisinger reports that fake version of Flappy Bird for Android are popping up everywhere and infecting users with malware.

The first sign that these apps aren’t the official game is that they don’t appear in the Play Store. Instead, users are finding them in 3rd party app stores that don’t verify their apps and don’t promise the same security. The fact that the legitimate Flappy Bird app is no longer available has led many users to ignore warning signals, however.

In many cases, the app infects a user’s device with malware directly. In some observed cases, however, the app asks a user to send a text to a supplied number. This is likely done under the guise of registering the game. Or, the app may even be able to take control of a user’s device and send the app without the user’s knowledge. In any case, once a text message is sent to the app’s creator, they have everything they need to attack and control the device.

It appears the malware being spread with these fake apps doesn’t steal data, but rather is used to send text messages and make phone calls to premium numbers. This likely earns the hackers a commission for each call or message. For users, it drives up the cost of their next phone bill.

In this specific case, users need to understand that an official Flappy Bird app is no longer available anywhere. Any app calling itself Flappy Bird is a fake and likely an attempt to compromise your device.

When downloading any app, it’s best to download directly from the official app store, rather than taking your chances with an unverified app from a third party.

If your smartphone, tablet or computer has been infected with malware, bring it to Geek Rescue or call us at 918-369-4335.

February 12th, 2014