According to Sophos, which unearthed a gaggle of Flappy Bird impostors, much of this malware resides on alternative Android markets – unlicensed alternatives to the Google Play store, in other words. As Sophos notes, the malware is trussed up to look exactly like the original game, down to the cartoonish avatar. But launch the software, and all manner of chaos will be wreaked on your machine.
"We advise Android users (especially those who are keen to download the now 'extinct' Flappy Bird app) to be careful when installing apps," the team at the TrendLabs security blog advises in a separate post (hat tip to CNET). "Cybercriminals are constantly cashing in on popular games (like Candy Crush, Angry Birds Space, Temple Run 2, and Bad Piggies) to unleash mobile threats."
Flappy Bird, which was released last year, was pulled this week from the Android and iOS stores by the developer, Dong Nguyen. In an interview with the Washington Post, Mr. Nguyen said the reason had to do with what he viewed as the addictive nature of his game, which he said was having a "negative effect" on his players. "I have a serious reason to take down the game and I would like to apologize people for that," he told the Post.
In related news, Terry Cavanagh, the creator of the cult hit Super Hexagon, has released Maverick Bird, a tribute to Flappy Bird. "Thanks for the inspiration, Dong," Mr. Cavanagh wrote on his blog. "Looking forward to your next game when things settle down!"