Flappy Bird’s popularity continues to make it a search engine favorite even after it has been taken down. People looking to get on the band wagon are desperately seeking out copies of Flappy Bird on the internet – and ending up with malware. A simple search for ‘Flappy Bird’ on GooglePlay will clarify that games that either have ‘flap’ or ‘bird’ in the title are raining from the sky.
GooglePlay is just one of the download destination used by smart phone users to download games.
Just to be clear, I am not talking about parodies and remakes here. I am talking about apps that look like the game but are actually built to either spy on you or hike up your data usage costs. Cyber scammers wasted no time in capitalizing on the opportunity to feed public demand with complete garbage.
However, the rise of Flappy Bird labelled malware is not an unexpected twist as evidenced by this post witnessed just one day after the game had been taken down.
@PhilipBR_ Flappy Bird is just a mini game. I would like keep it as it. Sequel may have.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
If you are familiar with YouTube’s viral video trends, then you know that every time a video goes unexpectedly viral, it is always followed by a hundreds of videos looking to cash off from the popularity. Search results flood with reaction videos, parody videos, reaction compilation videos by the hundreds and after a week or two there comes a point when it becomes nearly impossible to find the original video that was the first to spark. The same holds true for popular apps like Flappy Bird.
How long until flappy bird malware in the android app store? — Paul McMillan (@PaulM) February 9, 2014
So far, no security risk (other than the fake Flappy Bird apps sending text messages) has been reported, but signs show that this clearly only the tip of the iceberg.
Anyone else kinda think the whole #flappybird thing was a conspiracy by the NSA to get more malware on peoples phones?
— Jared Evans (@jarede) February 9, 2014
Ok so maybe it is too soon to drag the NSA into this mess, but that does nullify the fact that sinister forces are at play here. The way Dong Nguyen took down the app and refused to earn as much as $50,000 per day in doing so has raised questions that future events are expected to answer.
As for the game itself, Flappy Bird went viral, but that doesn’t mean it was an entertaining game, but that (also) doesn’t mean it wasn’t popular (go figure!). People are desperate to get Flappy Bird back.
Dong Nguyen has not reacted to the news of the malware riddled Flappy Bird rip offs as yet, which is surprising considering the perspective under which he took off the app in the first place. Dong Nguyen was looking for a simple and uncomplicated life when he took Flappy Bird off and the resulting land slide of malware riddled rip offs is making life difficult for fans of his games. According to his tweets, his motivation behind taking down Flappy Bird was to avoid allowing users to get ‘addicted’ to the game.
As the seemingly mundane game continues to make headlines even after its exit, smart phone users and gamers around the world continue the hit-and-miss parade on Flappy Bird’s clones. But in doing so, they are exposing themselves to all sorts of malware and spyware. Considering the type and magnitude of cybercrimes that have taken place in the recent past, downloading apps like these without taking measures to ensure online security is equivalent to committing cyber suicide.