Illegal spyware has been recently found by Symantec experts in a free game for the Android platform distributed through the Android Market.
The application is called Tapsnake. It’s the Android version of the old “snake” game that also reads the user’s coordinates and sends them to its server every few minutes. Of course, the developers of the game didn’t mention it in the game description.
Location data are collected on a special server where they can be accessed using a tool called GPS Spy that costs $5. The program puts the coordinates onto a Google map and enables anyone to track the location of the person being monitored.
The Tapsnake spyware client was downloaded from the Android Market over 5000 times, while GPS Spy was purchased by 500 people.
Since the program needs access to the smartphone to detect the user’s coordinates and send them to the server and since the Android OS warns the user about the actions that can be performed by the program, this case is not much of a threat.
However, it is a good demonstration of a simple rule: beware of possible dangers – new technologies and possibilities are not always a 100% positive thing.