A ring of hackers had planned to steal photos from Android users by creating a malicious clone of the famous Flappy Bird game. In a story issued by the UK’s The Guardian, hackers planned to produce a Flappy Bird clone that “would exploit app permissions granted during the installation to steal the photos.”
In July, a poster on AnonIB, an image board spun off from the 4chan community, made detailed accounts of how he would be able to steal photos on Android devices by releasing the malicious Flappy Bird clone.
“Gentlemen. I am a f****** genious. I have developed a flappybird clone. Hear me out. I.. modded… the app. It now secretly downloads all of the phones pictures to my server when the game is running.”
The developer continued, “The problem is this – it’s a violation of google play developers license to do publish sneaky apps like that, and I REFUSE to risk my license over it.”
He then asked for financial support to make a second Google Play developer account and promises to “post any wins [stolen photos] obtained in this thread”.
The poster is believed to be a part of the group of hackers responsible for the most recent leak of naked celebrity pictures. Experts are stating the ring of hackers found each other through the /stole/ forum and may have been already stealing personal photos and trading them for two and a half years now at least.
Google declined to comment for this story.
The Guardian quoted Trend Micro vice president of security research Rik Ferguson as saying such a plan was entirely conceivable.
“We frequently see manifestations of malware on Google Play Store and it’s certainly not malware-free,” he said.
“Google do actively police Google Play but it tends to be post-release. So he’s saying that if he puts it on his account, it’s going to be found out and he’s going to be suspended. There’s a thriving underground market in verified Google developer accounts for exactly that purpose.”
There are already more than 100 Flappy Bird clones available on Google Play. Flappy Bird is a 2013 mobile game, developed by Vietnam-based developer Nguyễn Hà Đông.
Flappy Bird was removed from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play by its creator on February 10, 2014, due to guilt over what he considered to be its addictive nature. Flappy Bird’s popularity and sudden removal caused phones with it pre-installed to be put up for sale for high prices over the internet.
Nguyen said that the guilt he felt over Flappy Bird was affecting his sleep, and that his conscience was relieved after he took the game down.
“Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”
The Inquisitr had recently published the dangers of Flappy Bird clones.
[Image via Flappy Bird]