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Mobile game trojan calls the South Pole

Freeware games can actually cost you more money than their pay-to-play cousins, as mobile gamers in the UK have learned. A "booby-trapped" version of a popular Windows Mobile game has been sneakily spending their money while they sleep - by dialling phone numbers in the Antarctic behind their backs.

3D Anti Terrorist Action

3D Anti Terrorist Action

Described as a "mobile version of the classic Counter-Strike", the pirated title contains hidden code which has been silently ringing numbers in the Antarctic block, the Dominican Republic, Somalia and other premium locations, simple calls which cost roughly 5 euro (more than US$6) per minute from a UK mobile phone.

The original game - 3D Anti Terrorist Action - was released as a shareware demo, before Russian virus artists got a hold of it, made a few tweaks and then published a freeware version, containing their dialler - Trojan.WinCE.Terdial.a.

The dodgy dialler was discovered back in March, but as the pirated game makes its way to more and more websites offering free Windows mobile applications, it's still making calls, and taking advantage of people looking to get something for nothing.

It seems that mobile phone tricks are gaining in popularity as virtually everything done on the phone will incur a charge - then it's just a matter of siphoning part of that cash flow back to the developers... much better rate of return than Nigerian scam emails!

In fact, Kaspersky Labs reports that the growth rate for PC viruses and trojans has been flattening in the past three years, but they have seen more than 200% growth in mobile threats.

Obviously, common sense dictates a pretty simple way to avoid this - don't play mobile games you've found on random sites, and make sure you're completely informed about what you're installing onto your handset. If you're truly concerned, blocking international dialling from your mobile may also be a smart option. However, if this is all a bit late and you're infected - the XDA developers forum contains a few tips on how to remove the trojan.

...incidentally, we hear that the game itself is pretty rubbish, just so you know.

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12 Responses to “Mobile game trojan calls the South Pole”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kingsley Foreman, GamePron. GamePron said: GamePron: Mobile game trojan calls the South Pole http://bit.ly/aQgUFj [...]

  2. [...] of a popular Windows Mobile game has been sneakily spending their money while they sleep – by dialing phone numbers in the Antarctic behind their [...]

  3. REV313 says:

    [...] of a popular Windows Mobile game has been sneakily spending their money while they sleep – by dialing phone numbers in the Antarctic behind their [...]

  4. [...] Gamepron skriver om spelet 3D Anti Terrorist Action som en rysk hacker gjort om till en gratisversion med den lilla finessen att det finns en dialer inkluderad. Telefonen ringer upp betal-nummer i bl.a. Antarktis och Somalia. Namnet på trojanen är Trojan.WinCE.Terdial.a. På XDA-developers forum kan man läsa förvånade användares reaktioner och kommentarer när de råkat ut för detta. [...]

  5. [...] week, we warned you that seemingly innocent free-to-play games could contain nasty surprises (like dialling the South Pole). This week, pesky developers have planted malware inside “unauthorised copies” of the [...]

  6. [...] Впервые троян Terdial-A Windows-CE был обнаружен в марте, однако тогда широкого распространения он не получил. На сей раз вирус распространяется сразу через несколько файлообменных сайтов, содержащих приложения для мобильных операционных систем Windows. В связи с этим игровой ресурс gamepron.com выпустил для своих посетителей специальное предупреждение. [...]

  7. [...] via Mobile game trojan calls the South Pole « GamePron. [...]

  8. [...] mai mici detalii. Ați instalat? Atunci mutați-vă la umbră și asteptați să deveniți mogul.Noua minune financiară e ascunsă într-o variantă demo a jocului 3D Anti-Terrorist Action (un soi de Counter-Strike foarte [...]

  9. [...] Jobs – No, not Steve Jobs DOD Shielding Private Networks Registration for Blogworld Expo Game Trojan Calls South Poll The What? Kindle 3? Skype 2.0 – 3G Style Quit Facebook Wins, Loses Loopt Rewards, [...]

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