Posted on December 27, 2021 at 5:13 PM
Cryptocurrency mining is a very lucrative venture, but it is a cost-intensive process because of the high energy needed. However, cybercriminals have developed ways to access the required energy without spending much.
Movie lovers have found themselves, victims, of targeted cyberattacks to harvest computer processing power. Spiderman is one of the most-watched films globally, and its popularity is now being exploited by cybercriminals.
Crypto mining malware disguised as Spiderman
A recent report from ReasonLabs, a cybersecurity software provider, unveiled a new form of malware that hackers were using to gain access into devices. The malware was disguised as the recently released Spiderman movie dubbed “No Way Home.”
The movie is a global sensation; hence hackers have the ideal opportunity to target millions of devices globally. With many targeted victims, hackers can gain access to computers worldwide.
The use of pirated movies to lure unsuspecting victims into installing malware into their devices is not new. It is a common method used by hackers who give their target victims access to a free version of the latest movies. In return, the hacker gains access to the victim’s device.
ReasonLabs discovered a crypto mining malware disguised as a torrent for the latest Spiderman movie. The torrent is readily available to users worldwide, and it lures fans of this movie to download the file, which gives the hackers access to their computers.
According to ReasonLabs, the malware installed into the Spiderman movie has existed for a while, and it has affected many users. The report notes that the use of such tricks has been on the rise, where hackers disguise mining malware in popular programs and files.
As mentioned earlier, crypto mining can be lucrative; hence, hackers can easily generate money using mining malware distributed globally. Disguising such malware in a popular film such as Spiderman ensures these hackers can reach millions of computers globally.
When users download the malware file, the code inputs exclusion on Windows Defender to prevent your device from tracking and detecting it. The malware is used to mine the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency. Monero is a privacy coin in that transactions made through this coin cannot be traced, as they are anonymous. Monero is mostly used in paying ransomware, and it is popular on the dark web.
Additionally, it can be hard for users to notice that their computer has been affected by this malware, especially in the initial stages. However, as the malware continues to operate on a device, a user will later notice computer performance and functionality lags.
The malware will also affect your electricity bill. As aforementioned, crypto mining consumes a lot of energy; hence, your electricity bill will increase significantly with this malware mining cryptocurrency in the background.
Similar malware attacks on the rise
The outbreak of the pandemic has increased the amount of time people spend on online platforms. Malicious threat actors are actively looking for different ways to trick users into downloading malware into their devices, and the Spiderman malware is just the first example.
RoutineLabs conducts regular checks on devices, and the recent Spiderman malware was detected during a routine search on their database. Over the years, the company has analyzed suspicious files. The company first detected the Spiderman malware after one of its users downloaded the file, after which it was immediately flagged as suspicious.
Currently, the firm is investigating the malware’s origins and conducting more research to understand its functionality. However, the report calls for caution, especially in the current digital world. In 2021 alone, the number of attempted ransomware attacks has increased by 134% to reach 714 million.
The boom of a digital working and entertainment world has attracted cybercriminals, who are now looking for easy targets. With the right tricks, cybercriminals can gain access to any device globally.
The use of movies could also be attributed to global lockdowns that have prevented people from accessing cinemas. As such, fans of Spiderman have to look for alternative channels where they can access the content.
ReasonLabs further notes that this is not the first time hackers are tricking users into downloading malware by telling them that it was something else. Hackers have ways to make the downloads look legitimate; hence a malware download can even be done by a user who is well-versed with online safety.
The report also notes that before this malware was disguised as the latest Spiderman movie, it operated in other identities. ReasonLabs notes that the malware could have previously been disguised as Windows Updater or Discord.