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Players beware - Squid Game malware is here

A promotional image for Netflix hit show Squid Game
(Image credit: Netflix)

Threat actors have capitalized on the popularity of Netflix’s Squid Game to push a malware-laden phone wallpaper app based on the show onto the Google Play Store.

Cybersecurity experts brought the app to the attention of Google, who have now booted it off the platform, but not before it had clocked over 5000 downloads.

Forbes reports that an analysis by ESET’s Android malware researcher Lukas Stefanko revealed that the rogue app was used to disguise the Joker malware.

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Based on Joker’s typical ploys, anyone who would have downloaded the malware-laden app would’ve been targeted by ad frauds or been signed up to costly SMS services without their knowledge or consent.

Stefano tweeted that the Play Store listed over 200 Squid Game-related apps. However he fathomed that since the series doesn’t have an official app of its own, it presents a great opportunity for app developers to capitalize on the craze to make money from in-app ads.

Speaking to Forbes however he suggests that malware authors have tried to piggyback on the popularity of a franchise to distribute malware, and that “it would make sense” if someone tried something similar with Squid Game as well.

“I would be careful when downloading any unofficial apps. Still, if I was going to install any of them, I would advise users to read reviews from others that might suggest what the app is about,” cautions Stefano.

While Google has unlisted the app from the Play Store, this isn’t the first time malware authors have managed to sneak past Google’s automated processes that are designed to flag suspicious apps. 

Via Forbes

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.