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Joker malware alert: Beware of fake Squid Game apps on Google Play Store

Last Updated : 26 October 2021, 08:23 IST

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In 2020, several governments in collaboration with technology majors such as Apple and Google launched the Covid-19 tracking app around the world. In the following months, they also rolled out apps to find and locate the nearest vaccine centers. Both the initiatives were launched to help people avoid red zones with a high number of infections and also get information on the nearest health centre to get tested and vaccinated. But, cybercriminals misused it prey on naive phone users by rolling out fake apps to steal financial details and also intimate information for ransom.

In most cases, bad actors used the notorious Joker malware to infiltrate phones through phishing techniques, mostly by sending out random emails with compromised URL links to the users.

Now, cybercriminals are back with another campaign and they are using the latest sensation 'Squid Game', a popular Korean TV series on Netflix to hoodwink potential victims.

They have introduced Squid Wallpaper 4K HD app and as the title says, it promises offers themes and background for home screens on the phones. However, it never delivers the job, instead, makes ad frauds by anonymously clicking ads on phones and also subscribing to premium SMS services without the consent of the phone owner.

ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko detected the fake Squid Game app on Google Play Store.

The bad actors are said to have used the Joker malware that is capable of hiding from the on-device security screening process and continue with illegal acts of ad fraud and money theft.

The Squid Wallpaper 4K HD is said to be installed on more than 5,000 mobile phones around the world. Taking note of the security threat, Google has taken down the aforementioned app from Play Store.

Though it is no longer available on Google Play Store, people who have already installed the app should uninstall them manually from the phone.

Stefanko added that there are more than 200 Squid Game app on Play Store. Some of them may also have similar malware and users are advised to be careful while installing apps from unknown publishers.

Also, it is a good practice to install an anti-virus app to detect and disinfect the malware on the phones.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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Published 26 October 2021, 08:16 IST

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