December 1, 2021

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The application associated with "The Squid Game" is used to distribute malware

The application associated with “The Squid Game” is used to distribute malware

The popularity of the Netflix series “The Squid Game” is being exploited by criminals who seek to distribute the Joker Trojan through applications that provide wallpapers from the series.

Last week, ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko confirmed the existence of a malicious app for Android on Google Play under the name “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD” which promises a large collection of wallpapers about the popular Netflix series. The ultimate goal is to download the Joker Trojan on the victims’ devices.

Picture 1. An app on Google Play that was used to distribute the Joker malware.

The malicious app was discovered by Twitter user Red-ind, who subscriber With Stefanko and other media the result. Although the app has already been removed by Google from the official Android app repository, before it was removed it had more than 5,000 downloads.

According to Stefanko, downloading this Trojan is likely to lead to subscribing to premium SMS services or spreading malicious and/or fraudulent advertisements on the victim’s phone.

On the other hand, ESET researcher warns that there are 200 more apps available on Google Play related to “The Squid Game”, and the app with the most downloads records over 1 million installs in just 10 days. Stefanko added via Twitter: “It seems that the popularity of the series represents a great opportunity to earn money through applications that display ads.” A similar scenario has happened with other popular video games and apps, such as Pok√©mon Go, Fortnite, Clubhouse, Cyberpunk 2077, and others.

As for Joker malware distributed through this background app, it is one of the most active families of malware in the Android ecosystem which gained popularity in 2017 by infecting many users by hiding inside apps. It has the ability to perform various actions on the victim’s computer, such as reading text messages, subscribing to paid services through websites, or installing spyware. In August 2021 the Belgian police warned That this malware was detected in 8 apps available in the Google Play Store, while businessman It indicates that since 2017 until this part, Google has removed from its store about 1,700 applications that distribute this Trojan.

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