Watch out for pushing emails-themed Halloween costumes, online games, and even previews of a potential second season. Cyber security researchers say they can carry dangerous malware.
Earlier this week, Kaspersky researchers reported that as of September they found several dozen malicious files online posing as content related to the popular Netflix show. But in reality, most of the files contained downloader Trojans bent on installing other malware on people’s devices. Some of the other files included adware, Kaspersky said, as well as Halloween Squid Game costume deals that were actually scam slots designed to steal credit card information.
One of the patterns that Kaspersky spotted features an animated version of the first game in the series. But while the victim is watching, a Trojan horse designed to steal data from people’s web browsers and send it back to attackers is launched in the background. The malware also creates a hidden shortcut that could be used to launch the malware every time the victims start their systems, Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky has also discovered Squid Game-themed mobile malware distributed through third-party app stores and disguised as apps, games, and books. The bogus offerings claim to contain episodes of the show for download, but instead contain the same types of data-stealing Trojans as other malware.
Other security companies are also starting to spot the malware. Proofpoint said Thursday that its researchers have identified a specific cybercrime cluster that it says is using Squid Game themed phishing emails to distribute the famous Dridex malware.
Dridex is an exceptionally efficient banking Trojan, Proofpoint said. If it infects your computer, it could lead to data theft or the installation of additional malware such as.
Proofpoint says it spotted thousands of emails earlier this week. In these, the attackers claim to be associated with the series and offer access to a new season, as well as chances to be part of the series’ cast.
To avoid becoming a victim, Kaspersky experts say, you should always verify the authenticity of websites before providing personal information, and only download movies and other files from official websites. Check your URLs and the spelling of your business name to make sure you’re not heading to a spoofed site.
Avoid links that promise exclusive or early access to content. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to the extensions of the files you download. For example, a video file will never have an .exe or .msi extension. You can also use security software that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.