Squid Game hype next target of malware scam

Cybercriminals take advantage of hypes such as Pokémon and currently Squid Game to release malware. Last week it was announced that malware had been found in the Google Play Store disguised as a Squid Game wallpaper app. This is not the first time; scammers are more likely to use the popularity of viral hits to transfer malicious files.

Due to the Squid Game hype, hundreds of unofficial apps related to the Netflix series have already made their way to the Google Play Store. Google checks an app for possible malicious activity before and after it appears on Play. Oftentimes, cybercriminals find ways to get around the tech giant’s security barriers.

Different types of malware

There are different types of malware or malicious software. Malware is a collective term for software that has been developed for malicious reasons. For example, criminals often use malware to gain access to computer systems or to damage a computer or operating system. Well-known subcategories of malware are computer viruses and ransomware.

The malware in the wallpaper app caused people to become victims of ad fraud or sign up for expensive SMS services without their knowledge. This means that infected devices are flooded with unwanted advertisements via SMS messages. The malicious app had already been downloaded more than 5,000 times before Google discovered the app and took it offline.

Exploiting hypes

Squid Game is the next name in the list of hypes exploited by scammers. For example, more than two years ago, researchers discovered dangerous malware in the torrents of illegal Game of Thrones downloads.

Popular games such as Fortnite and  Pokémon also attracted a lot of malware. Scammers even took advantage of the corona pandemic. There were all kinds of sites with corona-related terms in circulation, on which malware was distributed, among other things. This mainly happened in the Netherlands, where more than 1,400 registered corona-related malicious domain names came from. With this number, the Netherlands was in the top 10 countries with the most corona scam websites.

Preventing malware

If you are careful with websites and apps around hypes, you can prevent your device from getting infected with malware. Be careful when installing applications. For example, make sure that the apps you download are from official sources.

In the case of Squid Game, there were hundreds of unofficial apps in circulation. One of them reached a million downloads in just ten days. This app did not contain any malware.

Updating your computer software also helps protect yourself from malware. In addition, it is important that you do not open files that you do not trust, and do not open sites that you suspect may contain malicious software. In addition, installing good antivirus software is an important measure to avoid getting malware on your device.

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