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Prospective 'Dog Wars' Players Get Malware Message From Animal Rights Activists

Fake version of dog-bites-dog game contains a Trojan bearing animal rights messages

Online protesters couldn't convince the makers of "Dog Wars" to stop making their dog-bites-dog app. So they've done the next best thing: They made their own version.

According to a blog posted yesterday by researchers at Symantec, a fake version of Dog Wars is out on the Web, but instead of offering fun and games, this version aims to teach unsuspecting users a lesson.

The knockoff app, which has been spotted on warez sites but not in the official Android Market, contains a Trojan written by animal activists, according to Symantec. When the user agrees to the permissions requested by the app (including SMS permission), the malware downloads a game that looks almost exactly like the real Dog Wars game -- the only difference is that it says PETA Version instead of BETA Version.

"Internally, the Trojan code has been injected as a package called 'Dogbite,'" the blog says. "Once a compromised device starts up, a service called 'Rabies' is initiated in the background, which carries out the core functionality of the app.

"Once started, the service proceeds to send out a text message to everyone on the contact list of the compromised device with the following message: 'I take pleasure in hurting small animals, just thought you should know that,'" the blog continues.

The malware appears to be a political statement by animal rights activists, Symantec says.

"After a bit of researching, we have established that this was an attempt to sign up the compromised device [only works in the US] to a text/alert service operated by PETA," the blog says. "In spite of the fact that few clues have been left behind, we have no reason to believe that PETA had anything to do with this app, and that it is most likely the work of someone attempting to associate the app with PETA or to gain sympathy by the association."

Symantec is detecting the malware as Android.Dogwar.

Woof.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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