Technology

Be warned, that streaming service can be hackers’ den

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Streaming service can be hackers’ den. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky shows that between January 2019 and April this year, 23,936 attempts to infect these users were made, seeking to gain access to these platforms through unofficial means via files that used the names of streaming platforms as a lure.
  • The greatest number used Netflix, with more than 22,000 infection attempts detected using the platform as a lure.

The lure of free streaming content disguised as popular services such as Netflix is being used by cybercriminals to infect devices. With streaming wars intensify in the race for the consumer so have hackers upped their criminals.

Data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky shows that between January 2019 and April this year, 23,936 attempts to infect these users were made, seeking to gain access to these platforms through unofficial means via files that used the names of streaming platforms as a lure. The greatest number used Netflix, with more than 22,000 infection attempts detected using the platform as a lure.

“The so-called ‘streaming wars’ have only just begun, and as the popularity of these platforms grows, so too will the attention they receive from malicious users. This is particularly true since many of the platforms are experiencing unprecedented growth as a result of stay-at-home orders and employees being forced to work from home,” said Anton Ivanov, malware analyst.

“ While users may be tempted to search for alternative methods of watching their favourite content online rather than paying for another subscription, to stay safe, the best option is always to access the platforms and their shows via official sources.”

The cybercriminals imitate the services or offer popular shows only available on the specific service to get users to click, install or log in.

According to the cybersecurity firm, the threats most frequently encountered by users are also the most dangerous: various Trojans. These types of malicious files allow cybercriminals to do everything from deleting and blocking data to interrupting the performance of the computer.

“Some of the Trojans distributed were Spy Trojans—particularly dangerous malicious files that track the users’ actions on the infected device. With spyware, users are susceptible to having their personal files and photos collected, as well as login and password information for their financial accounts.” Said Kaspersky.

During the period surveyed, Kenyan users suffered 242 attacks disguised as Netflix, South Africans – 117, Nigerians – 77, Ethiopians – 27 and Egyptians – 264. In addition, the researchers saw attempts to distribute malware covered with local platforms names, such as Showmax (61 attempts) across African countries.

According to Kaspersky, with the growing popularity of streaming services, these platforms—and their original shows—are increasingly exploited by cybercriminals as a way to launch various attacks. These range from phishing attacks aimed at collecting account credentials and financial information to using the names of these platforms and their shows as a lure to trick users into downloading various threats, including adware and malware.

The researchers examined the cyber threat landscape of five major streaming platforms (Hulu, Disney +, Netflix, Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video) from January 2019 to April 8, 2020.

The attempts were also made on popular titles of shows that appear on specific streaming apps.

“Upon examining 25 original shows across the five platforms above, they found that the five shows used most frequently by cybercriminals as a lure were: 1) The Mandalorian (Disney +) 2) Stranger Things (Netflix) 3) The Witcher (Netflix) 4) Sex Education (Netflix) 5) Orange is the New Black (Netflix). The Mandalorian was the show most frequently exploited by malicious users, with a total of 5,855 infection attempts registered.” Said Kaspersky.

To stay safe, experts advise that whenever possible, only access streaming platforms via your own, paid subscription on the official website or app from official marketplaces; do not download any unofficial versions or modifications of these platforms’ applications; Use different, strong passwords for each of your accounts and Using a reliable security solution.