Opportunistic Scammers Target Flappy Bird Users

Flappy Bird
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Flappy Bird’s successful run was cut short this weekend when the game’s developer Dong Nguyen decided to drop the game. Unfortunately, it seems that scam artists are using the opportunity to scam unsuspecting users.

Scammers take advantage of opportunity

Applications that look identical to Flappy Bird were designed specifically to trick users. These troublesome apps, which can be found on Google’s Android store, entice users to send premium rate text messages. Scam artists created clone applications which contain harmful software.

Trend Micro Blog summed it up: “All of the fake versions we’ve seen so far are premium service abusers – apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements. The fake Flappy Bird app asks for the additional read/send text messages permissions during installation – one that is not required in the original version. Apart from premium service abuse, the app also poses a risk of information leakage for the user since it sends out the phone number, carrier, Gmail address registered in the device.”

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Flappy Bird creator talks about decision

Nguyen’s reason behind the shuttering of the application was a personal but valid decision. The game’s creator recently opened up to Forbes in an exclusive interview about his decision. He explained that Flappy Bird was designed to be a relaxing game, not an addictive game which he thinks became a big problem. Dropping the game is also a huge sacrifice for Nguyen as the game brought him a fortune from in-app advertisements.

The fake applications were found mostly in Russia and Vietnam. There is some good news for Flappy Bird fans who miss the game, there are some clones featured in app stores that aren’t scams. One notable game is called Ironpants, which features a similar premise and even proved popular before Flappy Bird was taken down.