A dog-fighting simulator available for Android smartphones has recently been infected with a Trojan — one designed to shames users by sending messages to their phone contacts.
“Dog Wars” was released by Kage Games a few months ago on the Android marketplace, immediately drawing controversy from the animal rights community and many others, including Michael Vick, who issued a statement denouncing the game on the grounds that the app glorifies a heinous activity.
Organizations like the Humane Society of the United States spoke out against the game’s system for rewarding the virtual practice of techniques performed in actual underground dog-fighting rings. Several groups even organized petitions, which they delivered to Android, against carrying the game in their marketplace.
In response to the fall-out, Kage Games re-released the game with a newly-christened title: “Kage Games Dogfighting.” However, it kept the same design, a Rottweiler with a blood-drenched snout, and the same subtitle from “Dog Wars,” which reads, “Raise Your Dog To Beat The Best.”
Kage also released a statement that the game is an exaggeration and satire of the ridiculousness of dog-fighting and that the purpose of the game is to educate users of the real horrors
Unsatisfied with the name change and the statement from Kage, an unknown hacker has now placed a Trojan file on an old version of the game. According to Symantec, the Trojan acts in three ways: it sends every contact on the phone a text which reads, “I take pleasure in hurting small animals, just thought you should know that;” it sends a message to 73822 to activate PETA’s mobile alert service; and it replaces the word “BETA” in the app’s menu icon with “PETA.”
PETA has denied any and all involvement with the application, but did offer the following statement: “We don’t know who created this version of the app, but we think it is ingenious. When someone creates a game that glorifies animal abuse, you can bet that people will come up with clever, smart ways to take action against it.”
Upon the original release of the game, PETA created an app of their own for the iPhone — one designed to educate users on animal cruelty, and on what actions activists can take to work against it.
This article first appeared on petmd.com.