Popular films gain the attention of cybercriminals, no less than movie fans, with the Oscars in the calendar only upping the stakes. To better understand how cybercriminals try to capitalize on our interest in high-profile movies, Kaspersky researchers looked into the prevalence of such scams. With over 20 phishing websites and 925 malicious files detected under the guise of this year’s nominated films, the findings show that those who are looking for a nice evening in front of the screen watching the latest blockbuster, need to stay on the lookout for much more action, in the form of phishing and malware.
Kaspersky found over 20 phishing websites and Twitter accounts offering users the chance to watch nominated films for free. These phishing websites gather users’ data and prompt them to carry out a variety of tasks in order to gain access to the desired film. These can vary from taking a survey and sharing personal details, to installing adware or even giving up credit card details. Needless to say, that at the end of the process, the user does not get the content.
|The Best Picture nominees|
|2||Ford v Ferarri|
|7||Once upon a time in Hollywood|
The titles of the best picture nominees analyzed by Kaspersky researchers
An example of a Twitter account promoting a phishing website
To further support the promotion of fraudulent websites, cybercriminals also set up Twitter accounts, where they distribute links to the content. Coupled with malicious files spread via different channels, this brings them successful results.
Malicious files spread on the internet under the guise of copies of nominated films also provide an indication of the levels of interest towards the nominees.
Kaspersky researchers compared malicious activity under the name of nominated films during the first four weeks after the public premiere of the film. As a result, ‘Joker’ took first place among films used – being the most popular film among cybercriminals with 304 malicious files named after the Gotham villain. ‘1917’ was second in this rating with 215 malicious files, The Irishman, third with 179 files. Korean film ‘Parasite’ did not have any malicious activity associated with it.
The number of malicious files detected by Kaspersky products under the guise of nominated films