With Flappy Bird now out of the mobile market some enterprising individuals are taking advantage of its popularity by releasing fake versions of the popular mobile game. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery however these fake versions are potentially dangerous as some of them contain malware that can infect Android devices.
Security firms Trend Micro and Sophos both report that they have encountered several fake versions of the game from alternative stores that require way too much permissions than the real Flappy Bird game. The real game only required “network access” so that it could display ads. The fake versions now require various permissions including the ability to send text messages, “draw over other apps,” create Web bookmarks on its own, and more.
The fake Flappy Bird app looks exactly the same as the real app. It even has the same icon making it difficult to detect unless you look at its permissions. While the gameplay is the same it also adds a premium text messaging scam on your deivce. This lets you incur several hundred dollars worth of phone bills as it sends and receives SMS messages.
The fake app even comes with a Google Play warning that says SMS messages may cost money and that it will ask for permission before sending a message to premium numbers. Users will also be receiving SMS messages that will incur charges however they will not know about this since the messages will be hidden and no notification about it will be displayed.
Aside from this the fake app will also share your personal data such as phone number, contact list, and Google account information.
The best way to avoid getting malware on your device is not to install apps from dubious sources other than Google Play.
If you really must play Flappy Bird then try to get a clean copy of its .apk file and side-load it on your device. Make sure to enable installation of files from “unknown sources” first. Even with this method it’s still uncertain if the app you get is loaded with malware or not.