Symantec Identifies Stealth Trojan in Tap Snake Game

August 18, 2010
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While trojans and viruses have always been a big problem for the PC market, it's just been a generalized urban myth for the Android mobile Operating System since its debut. While there was plenty of speculation about the damage you could do to the Android system, and someone's phone or data, it had never managed to make it to the mainstream. Until now. This is the second, or third, time that something like a trojan has managed to make headlines. But unlike a wallpaper, this one's embedded in a video game.

Symantec has positively identified a stealth trojan tucked away inside the video game, Tapsnake. The game is available in the Android Market, so we'll go ahead and say this: don't download it. A few people started to notice that, when you start the game your satellite indicator would pop-up in the right-hand part of the notification bar. This entailed that GPS data was indeed being transmitted, in some fashion. When Symantec dove deeper, this is what they determined:

"What was requesting this data? Well, it was a Trojan included with the game, which then uploads data to a remote server, allowing another person to monitor the location of the phone without the knowledge of the user."

However, that's not all. To make the stealth trojan actually work, a second, paid-for application has to be installed on another Android-based device. As Symantec puts it, "In order to receive the GPS coordinates, a second, paid-for application called 'GPS Spy' must be installed on another Android device. In this case, the developer describes it as an application to track another mobile."

Symantec has verified that Tapsnake uploads your GPS data every 15 minutes to a free App Engine service. Then, with that second paid-for app, someone can then download that data and use it to make points in Google Maps. It boils down that someone can know where you were, the exact location and time, at all times.

[via TG Daily]


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