An unofficial Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Android game has been reported as malware. Available on a Russian third-party website from a China-based author called Vickie, the game requires users to install a fake Flash update.
According to GFI Labs, a website that specializes in exposing online security threats, the purported Flash update is in fact a variant of the Boxer SMS Trojan.
The website provides users with a Vice City icon on their smartphone once the supposed game is download. After installation, users receive a prompt that the game requires Flash Player, and proceeds to give a link. The link takes users to a fake Flash Player that asks for permission to access the user’s messages, network communication, personal information, storage, services that cost money, and phone calls. Essentially, the Boxer malware masquerading as the Flash Player sends premium-rate SMS messages from the user’s mobile device.
GFI Labs clarifies that Rockstar only has the original Max Payne game and versions of Grand Theft Auto 3 on Google Play. To date, it has not released Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for Android devices. However, the official game, which is not a mobile application, may be purchased from Steam.
Apart from the fake Grand Theft Auto: Vice City app, GFI Labs found on the same download website a similar file called Z.O.N.A. Racing that comes with the Boxer malware, as well.
Instances like these are the main reason why gamers are often cautioned to stick with official download websites, such as Google Play. Moreover, it is imperative to read the previous comments written by other users as well as take note of the developer’s name and the permissions that the app requires.
GFI Labs notes that Grand Theft Auto is among the popular targets of those creating malware for mobile devices. It also points out that prompting users to download a fake Flash Player apart from the supposed game itself is a popular tactic to which many smartphone owners have fallen prey.