Kaspersky, a Security Software Provider, has recognized a form of Cryptomining Malware that has established in various sites where pirated textbooks are being uploaded and downloaded. WinLNK.Agent.gen, a delivery agent that is being active since 2011, but currently, its payload is cost-effective for the people who spread it.
So, Cryptomining Malware is actually targeting back-to-school students with pirated textbooks.
Malware disguises textbooks
The Malware disguises as a book or an essay that is packed in an executable file where the common-and-control system of the hackers allows to send other pieces of Malware which include Cryptominers and Spam Delivery Systems in an infected computer.
So, the reason that the Malware is targeting students is that Kaspersky watched its logs and saw 2,33,000 cases of harmful and cruel essays, and 1,22,000 attacks by Malware that were disguised as textbooks.
They wrote :
“More than 30,000 users tried to open these files [this year].”
The Cybersecurity Company explains, “As it turns out, over the past academic year, Cybercriminals who have been targeting the field of education have tried to attack our users more than 356,000 times in total. Of these, 233,000 cases were malicious essays that were downloaded to computers owned by more than 74,000 people and that our solutions managed to block.”
The Malware targetted harder-to-find textbooks as downloading copyright e-books and library books is quite simple and safe. Likewise, Google has found various e-book versions of multiple college texts which cost $150 or more online. And, most of them were in PDF files. There were also a number of executable files that were flagged as Malware.
It is reporting that the advertisements appear which are far more harmful, and they disguise as downloaded links that have been sent to people to Malware sites rather than the correct PDF or ePub file.
To avoid becoming a victim, those looking for textbooks online need to take better precautions, starting with learning about Cybersecurity.