Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Android Game Isn't Actually a Game

Another malicious application has been found from the Android Market. A game called Tap Snake isn't just a game, it turns out to be a client for a commercial spying application called GPS SPY.

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.

GPS SPY is a simple mobile spying tool and only costs $4.99. When bought, the application advises you to download and install the "Tap Snake game" to the phone you want to spy on. During installation, the game is registered with a keycode to enable spying. This means that the spy has to have physical access to the phone he wants to spy on.

In many ways, GPS SPY / Tap Snake can be seen as a little brother of mobile spying tools like FlexiSPY. GPS SPY is developed by a Russian developer based in Texas, Mr. Max Lifshin ("Maxicom").

We expect Google to remove Tap Snake from Android Market soon.

As we noted above, we fully expect that Google will pull Tap Snake from the Android Market. But it's also possible that they'll once again flip Android's kill switch and it will be interesting to see if Tap Snake meets Google's kill criteria. 

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