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
Video
All Videos
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9605
Published: 2015-09-04
WebUpgrade in Netsweeper before 3.1.10, 4.0.x before 4.0.9, and 4.1.x before 4.1.2 allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and create a system backup tarball, restart the server, or stop the filters on the server via a ' (single quote) character in the login and password parameters to webup...

CVE-2015-2990
Published: 2015-09-04
Directory traversal vulnerability in NEOJAPAN desknet NEO 2.0R1.0 through 2.5R1.4 allows remote authenticated users to read arbitrary files via a crafted parameter.

CVE-2015-2991
Published: 2015-09-04
Buffer overflow in NScripter before 3.00 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via crafted save data.

CVE-2015-5612
Published: 2015-09-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in October CMS build 271 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the caption tag of a profile image.

CVE-2015-5688
Published: 2015-09-04
Directory traversal vulnerability in lib/app/index.js in Geddy before 13.0.8 for Node.js allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a ..%2f (dot dot encoded slash) in the PATH_INFO to the default URI.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.
UPCOMING!
Wednesday, September 23, 1pm EDT

Fixing IoT Security
FULL SCHEDULE | ARCHIVED SHOWS