The Netflix series “Squid Game” is currently the talk of the town. But the hype has also been recognized by scammers who are trying to make a profit with virus-infected apps.
It’s a well-known phenomenon: If a topic is popular at the moment, suitable games, tools or other apps from third-party providers spring up. Often these are programmed quite quickly, i.e. “cheaply made”, as they say in the vernacular. Nevertheless, there are always thousands of users who download such apps – and often get a dangerous virus on their smartphone. Apps for the Netflix hit “Squid Game” are also affected, according to cybersecurity expert Lukas Stefanko.
Malware in “Squid Game” apps.
Stefanko works for ESET, a Security software company. He found out that there are currently a lot of apps related to “Squid Game” available in the Google Play Store. There are said to be over 200 of them, with the most popular among them having been downloaded about a million times in just 10 days. “Seems like a great opportunity to make money with in-app n from one of the most popular TV shows without an official game” said Stefanko.
Over 200 #SquidGame related apps are available on Google Play
Seems like a great opportunity to make money on in-app ads from one of the most popular TV show without official game.
The most downloaded of them reached 1M installs in 10 days. Its game play is not that well handled pic.twitter.com/gCOYXXaVHY
– Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) October 19, 2021
And indeed, the first reports of attempted apps are already surfacing. As ESET found out, the app “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD”, for example, is infected with the so-called “Joker” malware. Among other things, the malware allows criminals to sign up the unknowing smartphone user for premium services. According to the report, those affected reported expensive SMS fraud. In addition, “Joker” is said to allow fraudsters to gain control over the smartphone and cause further damage. The wallpaper app has already been downloaded over 5000 times. In the meantime, however, Google has removed it from the Play Store.
Security experts urge caution
To those who “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD” already installed should delete it from their smartphone immediately. In general, security experts advise users to pay more attention to the rights they claim when downloading currently popular apps such as “Squid Game”. Because as long as the hype continues, criminals will also try to exploit the popularity of the series for themselves.