Miners Use Discord Servers To Earn Pocket Money By Spreading Malware

Avast, a global specialist in online security and privacy protection solutions, has uncovered an online community of minors who generate, trade and distribute malicious programs (malware), including ransomware (ransomware) and others designed to steal information and mine cryptocurrencies. The initiators of this group attract young users by offering them access to several builders or generators of malware and development kits that allow neophytes to easily create malicious programs. In some cases, users must buy this access to the tools in order to integrate the group, in others, they become members of the said group where the tool is provided to them for 5 to 25 €.

The community uses dedicated Discord servers as a discussion and sales space to distribute malware families such as Lunar, Snatch or Rift, offered as a paid service according to the currently popular malware-as-a-service principle. (MaaS). As Avast has found, there are several clues to the age of participants in these chat rooms, with slurs around age being commonplace, kids talking about wanting to hack their teachers, and the their school’s network, or who mention their parents in their conversations. Also, there are strong indications that many children in the Lunar Discord group are French, as reported by Avast malware researchers. Some children mentioned being French in conversations, communicated in French, and showed screenshots of their computer with French language settings. One of the Discord groups specializing in the sale of the Lunar program had more than 1,500 users, of which 60 to 100 had the role of customer since they paid to obtain their builder. The cost of these malware-generating tools varies depending on their type and duration of use.

The types of malware that teenagers exchange target both minors and adults and can allow, depending on the option chosen, the stealing of passwords and personal data, mining of cryptocurrencies, and even distribution of ransomware. If a customer purchases a builder tool and chooses to use it to steal data, the sample generated and distributed by him will deliver the data stolen by the program in question. Or, if a client uses a tool to generate a ransomware sample, the victim will be prompted to send the demanded ransom to their cryptocurrency wallet. Other key functions include stealing gaming accounts, deleting Fortnite or Minecraft folders, or repeatedly launching a web browser containing adult content, seemingly for the sole purpose of playing a dirty trick on others. .

These communities can have a strong power of attraction in the eyes of the youngest and teenagers since piracy has an image of a cool and fun activity. Malware builders make it affordable to hack someone and then brag about it to their friends, and even make easy money through ransomware, cryptocurrency mining, or selling the other people’s data warns Jan Holman, malware researcher at Avast. ” However, these actions are far from benign, since they constitute an offence. The personal and legal consequences can be devastating, especially if these children expose themselves or family members online, or if purchased malware infects the child’s computer, making members of his family vulnerable when they use the infected device. Their data, which can be online accounts and bank details, is then recoverable by cybercriminalss”, concludes Jan Holman.

Malware circulating via YouTube

After purchasing and compiling their custom malware sample, some customers use YouTube to market and distribute it. Avast experts have seen customers upload a YouTube video claiming to provide information about a cracked game or tips for using cheat codes or cheat codes, with automatic redirect links. These URLs actually pointed to the malware, without saying so of course. To inspire trust, these malicious clients asked other Discord users to “like” and comment on their video, so that it appeared genuine and well-meaning. In some cases, they even asked third parties to indicate not to worry if their anti-virus software flags the file as malicious, because then it would be a false positive.

This technique is quite insidious, because instead of fake accounts and bots, people are exploited to launder malicious content. Since genuine accounts combine to post genuine positive comments about particular content, the malicious link ultimately inspires trust, to the point of encouraging more third parties to download it without suspecting the trap. commented Jan Holman.

Through its monitoring of online communities, Avast has discovered that members of this group do not all have the same goals: some stick together, seeing their cybercriminal activities as a joke or a way to steal information personal and sums of money. Other groups are less calm: fights, instability and harassment are recurrent there, sometimes with launches of challenges where some do not hesitate to appropriate the source code base of their adversary, even to orchestrate an intense campaign of denigration. concerning him.

Malware builders are tools that allow users to generate malicious files without having to program anything. In general, users only need to choose the features they need and customize some details, for example the icon. Several malware families generated by builder tools have a similar user interface, with variations in display, color scheme, names and logos. These are usually short-lived projects based on source code from GitHub or another development platform, simply sporting a new logo and name, and sometimes slightly adapted or modified with new features.

Avast has detection systems in place to protect users from samples disseminated through identified Discord servers and has reached out to the affected community to speak openly about the actions of these groups. Discord officials have confirmed that they have taken steps to regulate these types of communities, banning servers pointed to by Avast experts.

How to protect your children from criminal activities online:

It is essential to teach young people to be critical of tempting offers, for example new features for a game that are not offered through official commercial channels, or preview versions of games. popular. Parents must also convince their children of the importance of passwords, which should never be communicated to a third party, even if this person claims to be their friend or an expert gamer helping out. It must be explained to the youngest that they should never communicate personal information when they play on multi-player platforms such as Discord or the game Minecraft. In addition, children must also be guided on what is and is not ethically done in a virtual environment. What may seem like adventure and play can have disastrous consequences for others and constitute a crime in its own right. The youngest may believe they are safe from justice since they are not adults, but in the event of a problem, it is their parents who will be responsible for their actions. It is essential to talk about these subjects with your offspring.

Discord also told Avast that it recommended that parents customize the settings of their children’s computers so that they do not receive messages from unknown people. More safety tips are available for families on the Discord blog.

About Avast

Avast, a FTSE 100 company, is a global leader in online security and privacy products. It actively protects under the Avast and AVG brands more than 435 million users on the Internet against computer threats and those growing against connected objects. Its threat detection networks are among the most advanced in the world, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and counter threats in real time. Avast solutions for computers, Macs and smartphones have obtained numerous awards and certifications, including by VB100, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test or Se Labs. Avast is also a member of the Coalition against Stalkerware, No More Ransom and the Internet Watch Foundation.

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Miners Use Discord Servers To Earn Pocket Money By Spreading Malware


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