NEWS FROM THE LAB - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Android Game Isn't Actually a Game Posted by Mikko @ 08:25 GMT

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.

Tap Snake

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.

Tap Snake

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.

Tap Snake

In many ways, GPS SPY / Tap Snake can be seen as a little brother of mobile spy tools such as FlexiSPY. GPS SPY is developed by "Maxicom".

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

Here's a video we shot, showing the gameplay of the Tap Snake game.

F-Secure Mobile Security 6 for Android protects Android handsets against GPS SPY and Tap Snake. The detection name is called Android.Tapsnake.

To install F-Secure Mobile Security to your phone, visit f-secure.mobi on your handset.

Updated to add: 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.

Updated to add: GPS SPY and Tap Snake are no longer available in the Android Market.

Updated on August 12, 2011: Edits made to remove personal details.