The Legend of Zelda and dirty tricks by Android apps in the Google Play store

Naked Security reader Mark W got in touch with us after he installed a “Legend of Zelda” game on his Android smartphone from the Google Play marketplace:

“Dammit, I might have been done. Downloaded an Android version of Zelda, didn’t check the permissions for once and was only alerted by some aggressive ads on my notifications bar.”

Android security expert Vanja Svajcer of SophosLabs investigated, and quickly stumbled across the following suspicious app in the Google Play store. (It has since been removed by Google)

Remember, of course, that Nintendo doesn’t create official versions of its popular Legend of Zelda games for any non-Nintendo platform. So anytime you see a Zelda game being hawked for the PC, Macintosh, Android or iOS system it’s almost certainly illegitimate.

In this case, the app is an open source N64 emulator packaged with an old game ROM. As such, it clearly represents theft of Nintendo’s intellectual property.

However, if…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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