80 percent of Flappy Bird clones contain malware: McAfee

By Silky Malhotra | Updated 25 Jun 2014
80 percent of Flappy Bird clones contain malware: McAfee
  • Security expert McAfee's report says that 80% of all Flappy Bird clones on major app stores contain malware.

McAfee Labs’ latest Threat Report, which checked over 300 of the Flappy Bird clones on Android and iOS found that 238 or “almost 80% of them contained malware.”

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The Flappy Bird game was created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen and was generating $50,000 a day in revenue after its launch. But developer Nguyen felt that the game was too addictive and pulled it from all app stores. After that, third party developers started developing clones of the game. According to the report, a high percentage of these clones contain malware and are found on apps made for Android phones.

One of the things that the malware does is make phone calls without permission. Brian Kenyon, chief technical strategist at McAfee, stated that these calls go to premium numbers that charge extra "much like the chat numbers that had a huge impact on people's phone bills a few years ago." The malware also sends texts to SMS addresses that collect money. The report mentions that the malware was so effective in some cases that the hackers were able to gain complete root access to the device, putting the user at great risk of losing or sharing valuable information. In addition, the malware also tracks user's location, which can be used to pull a credit card scam.

"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." says Brian Kenyon.

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According to other reports, Flappy Bird creator, Dong Nyugen, is planning to bring the game back in August in a new multiplayer version that may just put the infected clones out of business.

Source: USA Today

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Silky Malhotra
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