Squid Game malware on Play Store that could have put users’ data at risk

Squid Game, the dystopian fantasy on Netflix, has become the talk of the town lately. While the show is now a hot topic on social media, its influence can be seen in all aspects, be it Halloween costumes, shoes, or smartphone apps. Tens and thousands of users were tempted to download one of those apps that has only disguised itself as malware, giving cybercriminals an open door to steal valuable user data. Also Read: Clubhouse Will Soon Allow Users To Pin Links On Top Of Rooms

Squid Game malware that could have put your data at risk

The malicious app disguised as a Squid Game wallpaper app was recently flagged by a security company on the Play Store. First discovered by ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko, who studies malware at the security firm, the malicious app is said to have been downloaded at least 5,000 times before Google removed it from the app store. Named ‘Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD’, the app was found to be used to spread the notorious Joker malware. In this case, anyone who has downloaded the wallpaper could have fallen into the trap of expensive SMS services. The app could also download and run native libraries and APK payloads, the security researcher noted in his post. Also read: WhatsApp will no longer be compatible with these iPhone, Android devices, how to backup chats

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Joker malware has been around for years, if the app followed similar tricks, the criminals have likely enrolled affected users on some premium services. Stefano points out that in addition to this app, there are over 200 Squid Game-based apps available on Google Play. Among the unofficial applications, “Squid Games – The Game” replicated the famous Red Light game, Green Light, a similar one that could also be seen on Instagram. The game reached one million installs in just ten days. “It seems like a great opportunity to make money with in-app ads for one of the most popular TV shows without the official game,” he said. Although it wasn’t malicious, a handful of unofficial apps that Stefano reviewed weren’t either.

However, the researcher notes that the threat is lurking given the popularity of the new series and users should take a cautious approach when downloading Squid Game apps. Google has now removed the app from the Play Store, but Android users who have downloaded the app are advised to immediately remove it from their device. Also, users are advised to download apps from authoritative sources and read the reviews, check if the app looks authentic before hitting the download button.

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