Device operating systems

Tapsnakes on a Phone!

There's good reason to be scared of snakes on an Android phone, security firm F-Secure Corp. warned Tuesday afternoon.

The virus hunters are reporting that there's a malicious app called "tapsnakes" that can be downloaded for the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) phone operating system, which can actively track unsuspecting users' movements via GPS satellites. F-Secure says in a blog that tapsnakes is actually a front 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.

Pretty snakey, huh?

Perhaps even more worrying is that you can buy the "simple commercial spying app" GPS SPY for a mere $4.99 and track users via satellite -- if you can get tapsnakes on their devices. [Ed. note: If it's not Angry Birds, we're not interested.] F-Secure is expecting Google to yank the game from the Android marketplace. Naturally, the firm also has some software you can download to your phone to protect yourself against such malware.

As Android gets more popular as an operating system we're likely to see more such viruses and malware arrive. Just last week Kapersky Lab said that it had discovered the first ever trojan horse virus on Android phones in Russia, and F-Secure has already found malicious programs in the Google OS app store.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:26:29 PM
re: Tapsnakes on a Phone!

Does the open source nature of Android make it more prone to malware than the tightly controlled RIM and Apple app stores?


How much more does this become an issue if our phones really are to become our mobile wallets? Its bad enough getting a phone virus now, much worse if it can drain your bank account too.


Questions worth asking I think...

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:26:29 PM
re: Tapsnakes on a Phone!

I just got a pitch warning against mobile VOMIT...voice over misconfigured IP telephony). As if the threat of word vomit isn't enough.


But, seriously, those are very valid questions. I will ask the vom folks if they have an answer yet.

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