Netflix’s latest Korean drama series, Squid Game, has become a sensation – it’s now the streaming service’s most popular show and worth over $ 891.1 million since its release. The drama series has found a special place in pop culture, inspiring memes and new trends around the world. Now cybercriminals are also trying to build on the success of Squid Game: Hackers have found a new way to reach users and steal their important information with the help of Squid Game themed apps. A cybersecurity company found such a malicious app based on the Squid game on Play Store, which was later removed from the Android market by Google.
Lukas Stefanko, a cybersecurity researcher at an ESET security firm, discovered that the “Squid Wallpaper 4K HD” app contained the infamous Joker malware, which was used to infect users’ smartphones. The “Joker” malware was also spotted earlier on the Google Play Store, but this is the first time it has been spread using a Squid game-themed app. Stefanko says the app had already been installed over 5,000 times before Google took it down.
According to Stefanko, the app allowed hackers to send “malicious ad fraud and / or unwanted SMS subscription actions”. This means that users could be bombarded with fake transaction messages or display advertisements tricking customers into purchasing a premium subscription, which would result in users losing money to hackers.
Now, even with the app removed from the Play Store, the threat is not over for those users who had the app installed on their mobile devices. Stefanko advises users to remove the app from their mobile devices as soon as possible and run an antivirus check on their devices.
Over 200 Squid game-themed apps are available on the Play Store, appearing to generate huge revenue from advertising.