Android smartphone and tablet users thinking about downloading the latest Angry Birds game will need to be extra cautious, as a fake version of the app has been found to contain harmful malware.
Rovio Mobile recently issued a warning on its website: “As you get ready to pop pigs in zero gravity, watch out for fake versions of Angry Birds Space, and make sure to download safe by getting the official game from Rovio.”
Security firm Sophos specialises in the latest wave of malware and security threats to smartphone and tablet users, and it’s recently checked out this fake version of the popular app. A search for Angry Birds Space will bring up several similar results but only one of them is the real deal. A cleverly designed fake looks exactly like the real deal, but contained within the package are two JPEG images which in turn contain malicious code.
Instead of bringing you hours of endless pig-popping fun, this fake will install malware into your system without you really knowing, allowing your mobile or tablet to be controlled remotely and used to carry out all types of unsavoury digital crimes. Sophos believes that the app could harness the use of thousands of devices worldwide, effectively turning them all into what is known as a Botnet, which can then be used to attack websites and online services without the owner’s knowing or permission.
“The Trojan horse, which Sophos detects as Andr/KongFu-L, appears to be a fully-functional version of the popular smartphone game, but uses the GingerBreak exploit to gain root access to the device, and install malicious code,” Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley said in a blog post. “The Trojan communicates with a remote website in an attempt to download and install further malware onto the compromised Android smartphone.”
While there are several apps out there that will legitimately protect your phone, scanning apps before they are downloaded and such, there is really only one vital tool that needs to be used: common sense. If it looks suspicious, don’t download it. Check out the rating of the app before downloading, and most importantly do a little bit of research and check the developer that is listed next to the app. The real Angry Birds Space is made by Rovio Mobile, the fake version will be made by some other random company.
Stay safe, Android fans.