Fake Flappy Bird apps a security risk

Fake app screen shotScammers are cashing in on the demand for the now-defunct Flappy Bird app, conning unsuspecting consumers out of money and personal information.

The addictive game became so popular - with more than 50m downloads - that it was reportedly making around $50,000 a day for its Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen and after deciding to withdraw it from online stores and turn to his "simple life", criminals rushed in to fill the vacuum.

Malicious, Trojanized copies of the game have appeared both on the established online outlets such as Google's Play store but also through third-party app stores, according to malware protection firm Trend Micro.

As with fake versions of popular apps such as Rovio's Angry Birds and Netflix, Some of these introduce malicious advertising code which diverts revenues from the legitimate developer fool users into accessing premium-rate text message services and some cases harvest the downloader's phone number, email address and other personal information.

Computer security specialist Symantec offers the following advice to people concerned about downloading fake apps:

1) Get to know the developers of your favourite apps.
2) Pay close attention ratings/reviews posted by other users.
3) When confronted with a number of similar-sounding apps, seek out the one with the most downloads.
4) Check with the website/developer (ideally via a Tweet or email) to make sure they have a mobile app available.
5) Check the developer's profile.

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