Risky games: Did you download an episode of Squid Game and some malware, too?

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Updated: November 24, 2021 8:34 AM

Cybercriminals use the popularity of the South Korean survival drama TV series on Netflix to install malware on your devices

squid gameIT security firm Kaspersky researchers found several dozen different malicious files on the web, the names of which mention Squid Game.

Even if you are a moderate consumer of Netflix content (TV shows, movies, even mobile games), you may have heard of Squid Game, a South Korean survival drama TV series that has become one of the biggest hits on the OTT platfrom in recent times. Cybercriminals are not shy in taking advantage of fans’ eagerness to watch the show, with well-known fraud schemes hitting the web. IT security firm Kaspersky researchers found several dozen different malicious files on the web, the names of which mention Squid Game.

In most cases analysed, the Kaspersky researchers discovered Trojan-downloaders able to install other malicious programs, but there were also other Trojans and adware. One of the cybercriminals’ schemes worked as follows: the victim was shown an animated version of the first game from the series, simultaneously, a Trojan was invisibly launched that could steal data from users’ various browsers and send it back to the attackers’ server. A shortcut was also created in one of the folders, which could be used to launch the Trojan every time the system was started.
Kaspersky researchers have also found mobile malware exploiting Squid Game. Hoping to download an episode of Squid Game, user downloaded a Trojan. When an app is launched on a device, it asks the control server for tasks to complete. This can be, for example, opening a tab in the browser or sending an SMS to numbers received from the control server. This Trojan is distributed in unofficial app stores and various portals under the guise of other popular apps, games, and books.

“As the Squid Game is hyping, we observe many phishing pages offering to buy the recognisable suits from the show; other ones invite users to play the games from the show online. Needless to say, targets end up losing their data, money, and with malware installed on their device. It’s extremely important for users to check the authenticity of websites when looking for a source to stream the show or to buy some merchandise,” says Anton V Ivanov, security expert at Kaspersky.

To avoid falling victim to scams, Kaspersky advises users to:

*Check the authenticity of websites before entering personal data. Use official webpages to watch or download movies

*Pay attention to the extensions of files you are downloading—a video file will never have an .exe or .msi extension

*Use a security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites

*Avoid links promising early viewings of content, and if you have any doubts, check it with your entertainment provider.

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