Google Android smartphone users may have seen a warning about the “Tapsnake” mobile/OS “Trojan” virus.
But according to security firm Symantec, it’s just a “series of mobile ads intended to scare users into believing that their device is infected with a threat called ‘Trojan: MobileOS/Tapsnake.’”
“The malware alert is fake. Tapsnake is an older Android threat … that just happens to be mentioned in these ads to make them appear more authentic. We visited a site serving these ads using a brand new Android device with a fresh install and nothing on it and still received this alert. Users of Apple’s iPhone have also reported seeing Tapsnake alerts, despite the fact that the threat doesn’t target iOS devices,” the company said.
The warning is simply scareware, which first appeared on PCs. The scareware messages are shown a warning that claims the device or computer is infected with a virus or malware.
They then usually offer downloads of fake antivirus software, which should not be heeded.
Regarding the software download for the “Tapsnake” scareware, one runs the risk of compromising their Android device if the fake security software is downloaded.
“If you made the mistake of installing the real Tapsnake app you would be greeted by a retro ‘Snake’ game, but your location would also be secretly shared with someone who wanted to spy on you,” says Graham Cluley, a security expert, on his website.