Symantec Identifies Stealth Trojan in Tap Snake Game | Android Community

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.

via Symantec Identifies Stealth Trojan in Tap Snake Game | Android Community.

What they have made is a covert tracking application for Android phones. Girlfriends can install it on their boyfriends phone to find out if he’s hooking up with the ex. Or the police could install it on your phone to track your movements while you plot your revolution (although they’d probably just get the phone company to do it even more covertly). But this one at least doesn’t seem to be some generic trojain that  the hacker is trying to get 1,000s of people to install. It is targeted at one person tracking the movements of a specific individual.

If you install a video game on your phone and it requests access to your GPS and Internet connectivity, that game is naughty in your sight and should be shunned. So that isn’t how this app is getting on your phone. Its getting on your phone because someone has access to your phone while you aren’t monitoring it. For this app, you will know it is there because the GPS icon will come on, even when you aren’t using a GPS application.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming an extension of ourselves. All manner of private data is stored on them. Since the phones go with us everywhere, they also make very effective bugs. Smartphones have been modified to act as listening devices, and here as tracking devices. You can’t live without it, so you should probably start treating it with the respect due something that important in your life.

Your smartphone should be treated with the same care you would give your laptop and at least in my case, even a firearm. Don’t loan it out. Don’t leave it laying round. Lock it up when you aren’t using it. For that last bit, on an Android phone, you should at least be using an unlock pattern. From the home screen press the menu button, then “Settings” and look for “Security”. Set and use an unlock pattern. Even better, if you have the right Android version, is to set an unlock code. Entering the code every time you want to use the phone can be a hassle at first, but you can get used to it.

Finally, if you need to go somewhere and want to be absolutely sure that no one is tracking your phone. Take Joe Huffman’s advice: remove the battery.

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