Vulnerabilities / Threats
8/17/2010
01:20 PM
50%
50%

Spyware Hidden In Android Snake Tap Game

Free app is paired with GPS Spy, software that monitors a targeted device's location.

Spyware Hidden In Android Snake Tap Game
(click image for larger view)
Spyware Hidden In Android Snake Tap Game
At first glance, the Android Market game Tap Snake appears to be a free, touchscreen clone of the popular "snake" computer game that dates from the 1970s -- and it is. But that's not all.

"It turns out to be a client for a commercial spying application called GPS Spy," according to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure.

One giveaway that Tap Snake isn't just a game is that it accesses GPS services. Another is that even if a user attempts to disable the game, it still runs in the background.

According to the developer's description, tracking a phone with GPS Spy requires installing Tap Snake on the target phone and registering an e-mail address in the application, which generates a unique code. Input this code and the related e-mail into GPS Spy, and you can see a trace of the target phone's location for 24 hours, in 15-minute increments.

That's because every 15 minutes, Snake Tap will transmit its location "to an application running on Google's free App Engine service," according to Symantec's Security Response blog. "The silver lining here is that for the application to really be used maliciously, an attacker would need to have access to the phone to install the program."

Alternately, an attacker could trick someone into installing the program as well as accepting the application's requests to use specific APIs. "This would probably require a dash of social engineering as well -- something like 'Hey, let me show you this cool game,'" said Symantec. "Think cheating spouses or keeping tabs on children."

Of course, plenty of applications already provide such functionality, and clearly disclose what they do. In contrast, Snake Tap does not, which is why it's earning a "Trojan application" classification from antivirus providers.

"We expect Google to remove Tap Snake from Android Market soon," said F-Secure's Hypponen. It remains to be seen, however, whether Google might also trigger an Android-wide remote application removal.

Comment  | 
Email This  | 
Print  | 
RSS
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Back Issues | Must Reads
Flash Poll
Video
All Videos
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2009-5027
Published: 2014-12-26
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2010-2062. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2010-2062. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2010-2062 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to pre...

CVE-2010-1441
Published: 2014-12-26
Multiple heap-based buffer overflows in VideoLAN VLC media player before 1.0.6 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted byte stream to the (1) A/52, (2) DTS, or (3) MPEG Audio decoder.

CVE-2010-1442
Published: 2014-12-26
VideoLAN VLC media player before 1.0.6 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (invalid memory access and application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted byte stream to the (1) AVI, (2) ASF, or (3) Matroska (aka MKV) demuxer.

CVE-2010-1443
Published: 2014-12-26
The parse_track_node function in modules/demux/playlist/xspf.c in the XSPF playlist parser in VideoLAN VLC media player before 1.0.6 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and application crash) via an empty location element in an XML Shareable Playlist Format...

CVE-2010-1444
Published: 2014-12-26
The ZIP archive decompressor in VideoLAN VLC media player before 1.0.6 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (invalid memory access and application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted archive.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.
FULL SCHEDULE | ARCHIVED SHOWS