A new app based on Netflix’s popular Squid Game series has been discovered on the Google Play Store. It was downloading malware onto the Android smartphones it was installed on. Creepy enough, it wasn’t the only app of its kind and here’s what smartphone users need to consider to avoid downloading such malicious apps.
- An Android app named Squid Game Wallpaper has been found to install malware on the target computers.
- The app has been downloaded over 5,000 times from the Google Play Store.
- The app has been removed from the Play Store since its discovery.
Squid Game is all the rage these days, with the Korean show quickly becoming Netflix’s biggest launch yet. The hype, however, is exploited by online threat actors who apparently spread malware to target computers by luring the victim to the name of the Netflix series.
The malicious activity was spotted on the Google Play Store, hidden in an app masquerading as a wallpaper store named after the show. The unofficial Squid Game app, one of many, turned out to be filled with malware. What’s even more frightening is the fact that the app has already been downloaded by over 5,000 users from the Play Store.
The malicious app named Squid Game Wallpaper by XEXO Studios was first discovered by Twitter user @ReBensk, who shared the discovery in a tweet tagging several cybersecurity experts. Shortly after, Lukas Stefanko, a malware researcher at ESET, shared an update on the app, confirming that it was overlapped by the known malware Joker.
In his tweet, Stefanko explained that the app was able to download and run native libraries on the target device, which essentially contain code that a developer wrote for a specific computer architecture. These native libraries then download and run the apk payload on the target device.
(Image: Twitter / Lukas Stefanko)
Stefanko further warned that running the app on the device could result in “malicious ad fraud and / or unwanted SMS subscription actions”. Adverse effects have been seen with previous applications of this type loaded with Joker malware. The malware hidden under the Squid Game banner is the first of its kind.
The app has been removed from the Play Store since discovery. Users who had previously downloaded the app and were using it were instructed to uninstall it immediately.
The discovery is a shining example of how original unverified apps can potentially be harmful to your device. The Joker malware has a notorious past with Android apps on Google Play Store and its resurgence with the Squid Game wallpaper app only shows that threat actors are always looking for new ways to use it to target victims. gullible. As a rule of thumb against such risks, make sure that the apps you download to your phone are from verified origins and have a solid and trustworthy background.
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