Beware of the “Squid Game” app which installs malware on users’ devices

“Squid Game” is still going viral – and not in a good way.

With the “Squid Game” craze sweeping the world, cybercriminals scramble to take advantage of unsuspecting fans of Netflix’s hyper-violent Korean hit series. In the latest scam, discovered by a cybersecurity researcher, an SG-themed wallpaper app – available on the Google Play Store – installed insidious malware on people’s phones, the Sun reported.

“Seems like a great opportunity to make money with in-app ads from one of the most popular TV shows without an official game.” tweeted Lukas Stefanko, a malware researcher for security firm ESET, who allegedly caught the app in the act.

The supposedly sinister app, titled “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD”, was available alongside hundreds of apps based on the hit series. Once downloaded, the technological Trojan would infect Android devices with the Joker malware, which allows hackers to sign up for premium services that they can take advantage of.

The app, titled “Squid Wallpaper 4K HD”, was used to infect Android phones with the notorious Joker malware.

Stefanko had tweeted that digital crooks were using the app to perform “malicious ad fraud and / or unwanted SMS subscription fraud,” which means compromised devices could be inundated with unwanted SMS ads.

The cybercrime fighter alerted Google to the scheme, but it had already been downloaded 5,000 times by the time they deleted it.

Unfortunately, “Squid Game” fans who installed the app before it was removed from Google Play continue to be exposed to malware. Techsperts advises people to remove the app immediately to negate the threat.

A picture of
A photo from “Squid Game”, in which cash strapped players compete in deadly playground contests for prizes.
Netflix / AFP via Getty Images

Stefanko noted that Google Play offers 200 apps based on “Squid Game” – which is considered Netflix’s most watched show – with the most popular garnering 1 million downloads in 10 days.

Unfortunately, the negative impact of the show could be more than digital. Psychologists say the dystopian series could hamper the “social and emotional development” of young children, encouraging them to close their eyes – or even join us – when others are attacked.

Earlier this month, a school in Belgium issued a warning following reports of students playing a punching game inspired by the ‘Squid Game’.

The dystopian Korean series is set to become Netflix's most watched show.
The dystopian Korean series is set to become Netflix’s most watched show.

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