It is safe to say that many Americans are obsessed with Squid game. According to Business intern, the Korean drama series has led new subscribers to a Netflix title of any Netflix series for the past three years. And while word of mouth played a big part in the show’s success, viewers aren’t the only ones taking note. Cybercriminals are also devising ways to profit from the show’s popularity. According to New York Post, a malicious application based on Squid gamewas recently found on the Google Play Store, infecting users’ devices with malware.
Red light: Joker Malware in disguise
The application in question, called “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD”, was one of the 200 Squid game– related apps on the Google Play Store. This particular app masqueraded as a cool place to download Squid gamebackgrounds for android devices. However, once a user downloaded the app, it infected their smartphone with a strain of Joker malware. Wildcard malwareis a type of billing fraud malware that usually disguises itself as a messenger, photo editor, camera, or in this case, wallpaper apps.
You might be wondering how an app like this even ends up in a legitimate app purchase store. In order to bypass Google Play’s app review process, Joker malware hides its malicious payload during the review process. This means that when the app is published on the Google Play Store, there is no sign of malware. It is only when a user installs the application that the malware downloads the malicious payload. Once the malware successfully installs, it secretly registers the user for premium subscriptions, intercepts all of their SMS messages, and can upload all of their contacts to the malware operators.
Green light: secure your device against mobile malware
The “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD” app received 5,000 downloads before it was removed from the Google Play Store. It is likely that cybercriminals will continue to use the popularity of the series to exploit its fansand make a profit, whether through malicious apps disguised as a place viewers can watch the show or through fraudulent websites selling Squid gamemerchandise. But fear not! There are some steps you can take to make sure you avoid malware:
1. Avoid third-party app stores
Unlike Google Play and Apple’s App Store, which have measures in place to review and control apps to keep them safe, third-party sites may not have this process in place. In fact, some third-party sites may intentionally host malicious apps as part of a larger scam. However, cybercriminals have found ways to bypass Google and Apple’s review process (such as with “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD”), but the chances of downloading a secure app from these stores are much greater. than anywhere else. In addition, Google and Apple quickly remove malicious apps once they are discovered.
2. Do your research before downloading
Before downloading a new app, do some quick research. Find out about the developer. Have they released several other apps with lots of downloads and great reviews? A legitimate app typically has multiple reviews, while malicious apps may only have a handful of fake five-star reviews. Finally, look for typos and grammatical errors in the app description and screenshots. They could be a sign that a hacker slapped the app and quickly deployed it.
3. Keep an eye on your accounts
Certain types of malwarestumps operate stealthily behind the scenes, requisitioning login credentials or banking information right under the user’s nose. Check your accounts from time to time and if you notice suspicious activity, report it and change your passwords. You can also youse Identity monitoring tools, which will notify you of unusual changes or actions.
4. Use a comprehensive security solution
Just like you secure your computers and laptops, it is important to secure the mini-computer in your pocket, your smartphone! For optimal protection, use comprehensive security softwarethat protects your device from malware and risky websites, links and files. With just a few key steps, you can boost your confidence in the security of your devices and personal information, and make the most of your favorite binge-worthy shows!