Free Android App Tap Snake is Actually Malicious, Security Vendors Inform
Article by George Norman
On 18 Aug 2010
If you have an Android-powered device and you want to have a bit of fun, you can play a fun game on your mobile device. There are plenty of games available for download in the Android Market that are offered free of charge (I’m assuming you don’t want to part with your hard earned money). The downside is that not all the games the Android Market serves are what they say.

Tap Snake is an app for the Android operating system that claims to be a game, a Snake clone to be more precise. The app is offered free of charge, but don’t think for a second that by getting the app you will not pay. You pay with your privacy because Tap Snake is in fact malicious; it is a client for commercial spying application GPS SPY.

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“The Tap Snake game looks like an average "Snake" clone. However, there are two hidden features. First, the game won't exit. Once installed, it runs in the background forever, and restarts automatically when you boot the phone. And secondly, every 15 minutes the game secretly reports the GPS location of the phone to a server,” said Mikko Hypponen on behalf of F-Secure, Finland-based company that specializes in providing antivirus and security software solutions.

The fact that Tap Snake is malicious has also been confirmed by Trend Micro, company that specializes in providing network antivirus and internet content security software.

“Trend Micro threats analysts Edgardo Diaz and Alvin Jethro Bacani came across a possibly malicious Android app known as Tap Snake that is circulating in the Android market. The said app has the ability to send a user’s GPS location via HTTP POST the moment the user accepts the app’s end-user license agreement. Even worse, the app cannot be terminated to prevent it from sending out user data,” said Bernadette Irinco, Technical Communications with Trend Micro.

Pretty much the same warning has been issued by Symantec, company that specializes in providing antivirus, antispyware, and internet security software solutions,

The malicious app is expected to be removed from the Android Market by Google. It is expected that Google will use its remote application removal privileges to remove the app from the devices of Android users who installed it.



Tags: Android, Security, Tap Snake, F-Secure, Symantec, Trend Micro
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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