Nishtha KanalFeb 13, 2014 08:00:29 IST
Post Flappy Bird’s demise, a ton of replica apps have filled app stores to the brim, as we saw yesterday. It’s now being revealed that hackers are taking advantage of certain duplicate Flappy Bird apps that directly impact your phone bills.
Global security provider Trend Micro has said that it’s managed to find fake Flappy Bird apps on Google’s Play Store that ask for permissions to read and send text messages while you’re installing the app and then ends up sending premium messages, depleting the user’s balance or affecting their bills.
While installing apps, most people ignore the pop up that talks about permissions it requires on your phone. Certain apps say that they will need to keep your phone awake, make phone calls and even read your messages. Games like Flappy Bird, however, don’t need permissions that pertain to your phone’s call log and messages. Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Trend Micro said “The original Flappy Bird has been officially taken off the mobile app stores, but hackers have reportedly released knock-offs of the 'addictive' game, containing spam, to trick users into sending premium rate text messages.”
The fake Flappy Bird apps though would ask for permissions to additionally read and send text messages and once installed would send messages to premium numbers. Apart from the premium service abuse, the apps would also pose a risk of information leakage for users since it also sends out phone numbers, carrier, Gmail addresses registered on the device.
Flappy Bird was an addictive, yet frustrating game for iOS and Android that involved users tapping their phone screens in order to help a bird navigate its way between pipes. Despite a smooth learning curve, scoring wasn’t an easy job and that left users with scores in single digits, prompting them to play the game over and over again. Unfortunately, the obsession with the app was so high that it worried the app’s Vietnamese creator Dong Nguyen, who in a series of tweets over the weekend announced that he would be pulling out the app from stores. Of course, widespread panic continued and users downloaded the app before it disappeared completely.
Those who did not jump onto the bandwagon in time are ending up erroneously downloading Flappy Bird clones without realising the fake apps could harm their phones. You would do well to first check the permissions on the app before downloading it.
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