Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 26 April 2021 11:08

Oscars attract film buffs – and scammers as well

Oscars attract film buffs – and scammers as well Pixabay

The biographical drama Judas and the Black Messiah has won one Oscar already at the ongoing ceremony, but the film also has another less better-known achievement: it was used to spread the most malicious files among the films up for Oscar contention.

The security firm Kaspersky said in a statement that 26% of the total 80 infected files floating around on the Web in the run-up to the Oscars were claiming to be download sources for Judas and the Black Messiah.

Other popular films Promising Young Woman and Trial of the Chicago 7 were second and third in this list, making up 22% and 21% respectively of the malicious files spotted by Kaspersky.

"In the hope of watching an Oscar-nominated movie, users visited a site where they were shown the first few minutes of the film before being asked to register to continue watching," the company said, outlining how scams involving Oscar-nominated films are structured.

"During the registration, to confirm their region of residence, the victim was asked to enter their bank card details. After some time, money was debited from the card, and as expected, the film did not continue to play. This type of phishing is widespread and is considered to be one of the most popular among scammers."

oscar files

Malicious files using the Best Picture nominees' names detected by Kaspersky products. Supplied

Kaspersky security researcher Anton Ivanov said: “Cyber criminals have always tried to monetise users’ interest in various sources of entertainment, including films.

"We see that big events in the film industry can boost some interest from the cyber criminal community, but today this type of malicious activity is not as popular as it used to be.

"Nowadays, more and more people are switching to streaming services, which are more secure because they do not require downloading files. Still, films serve as a popular lure to spread phishing pages and spam emails. These attacks are preventable, and users should be alert to the sites they visit.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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