Players beware: the malware hidden in a Netflix's Squid Game wallpaper app has been discovered.
If you, like the rest of the Netflix-watching world, are obsessed with the South Korean series Squid Game, you might be tempted to download an app based on the smash-hit TV show.
A Squid Game malware has disguised itself as a phone wallpaper software, and it has already made its way onto Google Play Store, as hundreds of unapproved apps have flooded the Android app store.
The malware authors are obviously taking advantage of the popularity of the Squid Game series, which isn't exactly new, and it has proven to be extremely damaging.
Cyberhackers have taken advantage of the success of Netflix's top global show by releasing a malware-infected phone wallpaper app, which could be easily found and downloaded via Google's app storefront.
Squid Game Malware App Detection
The app was brought to Google's attention by cybersecurity specialists, who have since removed it off the platform, but unfortunately not before it had accumulated over 5,000 downloads.
The malicious software was spotted by an Android security researcher using the handle @ReBensk, and was evaluated by ESET Android malware researcher Lukas Stefanko.
Over 200 #SquidGame related apps are available on Google Play— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) October 19, 2021
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
Google was able to remove the malware-infested app so as not to victimize more fans of the South Korean show, but not before thousands of people having already downloaded and installed the app. So, with that, remove the app from your device if you are one of the unfortunate fans who have installed in on your Android device.
Both security experts identified it as Joker, a well-known brand of rogue Android software.
Anyone who downloaded the wallpaper in this case could have become a victim of ad fraud or been signed up for expensive SMS services without even realizing it.
Stefanko said it was difficult to say whether Google was becoming better at detecting malicious applications that reap the benefits of viral and trending topics like Netflix's Squid Game, but "it would make sense," given how malicious hackers have exploited the popularity of games like Fortnite and Pokemon, as well as Covid-19 trackers, in the past.
Usually, Google will scan an app for dangerous activity both before and after it is submitted to the Play Store, but malicious hackers frequently find ways to get around the tech giant's security measures.
The Squid Game Joker Malware
According to Forbes, ESET Android malware expert Lukas Stefanko investigated the rogue app and found that it was used to hide the Joker malware.
Anyone who downloaded the malware-laden app would have been targeted by ad scammers or signed up for expensive SMS services without their knowledge or agreement, basing on Joker's usual ruses.
The notorious Joker malware has made its way back into the official Google Play Store by making minor changes to sneak past automated inspections, making it easier for people to install them and become victims of such viruses.
For the past few years, the Joker family of malware has been infecting apps on Google's Play Store, as well as other well-known app stores like Huawei's.
The Joker malware is intended to steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, as well as sign users up for premium wireless application protocol (WAP) services without their knowledge.