Internet security firm Trend Micro is warning those who don't already own Flappy Bird on Android to be careful what they download. According to a blog post from the firm, a number of unscrupulous scammers are taking advantage of Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen pulling his game this week by creating apps with trojans and malware in them. Some simply ask you to pay a fee to play the "free game" (and close when you don't) while others are stealing your personal information and even putting toll charges on your mobile phone device.
The majority of the fake Flappy Bird apps were detected as Premium Service Abusers, which cause unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements.
"We advise Android users (especially those who are keen to download the now “extinct” Flappy Bird app) to be careful when installing apps," the firm wrote on its blog. "Cybercriminals are constantly cashing in on popular games (like Candy Crush, Angry Birds Space, Temple Run 2, and Bad Piggies) to unleash mobile threats."
Trend Micro goes on to say that a lot of the fake apps are being spread in app markets in Russia and Vietnam and are nearly identical to the original game, making it hard for users to tell the difference. Of course the real difference is that the original game is no longer available.
"All of the fake versions we’ve seen so far are Premium Service Abusers — apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements," the blog post continued. "(The fake) Flappy Bird app asks for the additional read/send text messages permissions during installation — one that is not required in the original version."
Trend Micro went on to say that the other fake versions of the app that it has seen "have a payment feature added into the originally free app," and that the "fake versions display a pop up asking the user to pay for the game." If the user doesn't take the bait and pay for the game, the app simply closes.
You can read more about these fake apps on the Trend Micro blog.