05/11/2021

Squid Game Joker Malware App Targeting Smart Phones

The app, innocuously titled ‘Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD’, was, until its recent ban, available for download in the Google Play Store, among hundreds of other SG-themed apps.


Following Squid Game’s meteoric popularity around the globe, the hit TV show has given rise to a host of related apps, with many popping up on official app store libraries.

The out-of-nowhere Netflix smash, said to be the streaming giant’s most viewed show ever, has reached far beyond the South Korean borders where production took place. But where there’s great buzz, there’s opportunity to scam…

Malware-Infecting Squid Game App Discovered

According to virus researchers, cyber criminals have been installing malware onto users’ smart phones courtesy of a Squid Game-related wallpaper app.

The app, innocuously titled ‘Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD’, was, until its recent ban, available for download in the Google Play Store, among hundreds of other SG-themed apps.

“Seems like a great opportunity to make money on in-app ads from one of the most popular TV shows without official game,” commented Stefanko, who claims to have discovered the app and its malicious hidden agenda.

Once downloaded, the app is claimed to be capable of spreading the Joker virus, an infamous strain of malware which can quietly steal user data from devices, including personal and financial information.

Stefanko explained that his findings uncovered how the app could download and execute native libraries and APK payloads, and also execute malicious apps on the devices targeted.

Furthermore, the cyber security researcher revealed that the allegedly menacing app enabled hackers to conduct “malicious ad-fraud and/or unwanted SMS subscription actions” by signing users up for premium services that could be profited from.

After becoming compromised, a smart device could now be bombarded with countless unsolicited adverts via text messages. 

Having learned of the app’s malicious designs, researchers reported the discovery to Google. The tech colossus subsequently banned the app – but not, however, before it had been downloaded five thousand times.

For any users who still have a copy of ‘Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD’ on their smart device, it is of course crucial that they uninstall the app immediately, as their data may be at risk from the Joker malware.

How to Protect Against Joker Malware

1. Ensure that you always download apps from official sources, such as the Google Play or Apple App Store. And when it comes to themed apps, such as the Squid Game variety, avoid those which are unofficial.

2. However, since it’s possible for a potentially malicious app to slither its way into official stores – as was the case with the ‘Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD’ – it’s best to still approach with caution.

3. Before downloading, consider the kind of reception the app has already received from other users. How many downloads and reviews has it received? Are the reviews mostly positive? Has the app been listed as a potential threat by any cyber security websites? 

4. Instead of relying on apps to display wallpapers on your smart device, keep in mind that legitimate, recognized websites such as Shutterstock, Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels all provide free stock photos and images. You can also use Google image searches.

5. TotalAV’s award-winning antivirus suite, which scored perfect results in a recent AV-Test, offers pinnacle levels of cyber safety. Courtesy of real-time protection and a plethora of security tools, our industry-leading software can instantly detect the very latest threats across all devices, including malware and rogue apps.


 

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