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“The Squid Game” is going viral, but not in a good way. With the fad sweeping the globe, cybercriminals are striving to cash in hyper-violent Korean series.
The “Squid Game Wallpaper 4K HD” app in Google Play Store has installed malware onto people’s phones. When downloaded, the Trojan horse technology will infect Android devices with the Joker malware, allowing hackers to sign you up for premium services they can profit from. In addition, digital swindlers are taking advantage of the viral hit and using the app to conduct malicious ad fraud. Compromised devices could receive overwhelming advertisements via text messages.
While the malware-infected app was removed from Google Play Store, thousands who installed the application before the deletion continue to be at risk. As a result, techsperts are urging people to uninstall the app immediately to nullify the threat. The malicious app was discovered by an Android security user using @ReBensk and analyzed by Lukas Stefanko, an ESET Android researcher.
Google typically checks an app before and after it is uploaded to Play. Still, malware authors always find ways around the security barriers as they have exploited the popularity of Pokemon, Fortnite, and even Covid-19 trackers.
According to researchers, more than 200 apps based on “Squid Game” are available on Google Play. One of the unofficial apps is called “Squid Games—The Game,” which replicated the Red Light, Green Light game featuring the show’s first episode. Despite its basic gameplay, it amassed a million installs within ten days.
Unfortunately, psychologists say that the negative impact of this Squid Game could impede young kids’ emotional and social development as it encourages them to join and turn a blind eye when others are under attack.
A Belgian school earlier this month issued a warning earlier following reports of students playing a punching game inspired by Netflix’s hyperviolent Korean series “Squid Game.” However, in this schoolyard, instead of being executed, the loser gets punched.
The school is urging parents to create awareness of the consequences of punitive pursuit.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
New York Post: ‘Squid Game’ apps are infecting devices with malware viruses: report; by Ben Cost
Forbes: Watch Out: ‘Squid Game’ Malware Hits Google Play As Hundreds Of Unofficial Apps Flood Store; Thomas Brewster
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Marco Verch Professional Photographer’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Hans Splinter’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License