Back to School Crypto Mining Malware Targets Students, Report reveals.

It’s back to school season and students have received a warning to be cybersecurity conscious.  Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity firm released a new report that warns students seeking to download electronic textbooks. The report reveals that some electronic versions of essays and textbooks can expose them to cyber attacks.

Most students look for the best price when textbook hunting and the web turns out to be a cheaper option for most. However, Kaspersky conducted a study last year that reveal that 365,000 malware attacks were targeted at the educational sector and 233,000 of these attacks involves malicious documents served as essays. 

Kaspersky is issuing a warning to students stating that computer viruses were becoming common when related to educational content. Some of these malware downloaders are cover-ups for crypto mining programs that maliciously hijack your power to mine digital assets. 

Furthermore, the cybersecurity firm revealed that their solution was able to block some cases of the malware.  According to Kaspersky,  “233,000 cases were malicious essays that were downloaded to computers owned by more than 74,000 people and that our solutions managed to block.” 

In addition, 122,000 of these attacks were cloaked as textbooks and about 30,000 users actually tried to download these files. The study further reveals that there was a total of 4,163 downloads and the top searches were English, literature and Maths.  Maths had 870 downloads, English 2,080, and Literature had 1,213 downloads. 

Some of the most popular malwares used to carry out these nefarious activities include 

  • MediaGet torrent application downloader: This malware downloads and installs unneeded torent clients. 
  • The WinLNK.Agent.gen : This malware includes adware, crypto-mining.
  • Win32.Agent.ifdx downloaders: This malware also includes banking Trojans.
  • The Stalk worm:  It’s the dangerous one amongst these malware. Stalk will infect the users’ devices. Files on your device may be sent to the malware owners. 

Students are warned to keep their software antivirus updated. Students are also warned to be wary of the website they visit in their search for educational content.