Crafty is the word we’d use to describe the techniques being employed cybercriminals to target victims.

Rather worryingly, Kaspersky has noted a trend in which cybercriminals disguise malware as textbooks and ready-to-use essays for students.

Between August 2018 and July 2019, Kaspersky’s research discovered 53 531 malicious files used to target some 104 819 users. While this is an overall decrease of 21 percent year-on-year, it is still worrying.

The large majority of malicious textbooks were in the subjects of English (2 080), Math (1 213) and literature (870) and Kaspersky says the threats ranged from annoying adware to dangerous banking trojans.

As for students looking to get easy marks using a pre-written essay, you are likely putting yourself in danger. Kaspersky identified as many as 35 776 threats disguised as essays and student papers.

The firm notes that 35 percent of these essays and papers contained a worm that isn’t seen anymore, hell, it hasn’t been used for eight years.

“It was actively distributed through a specific attack vector – USB-sticks. Upon closer examination, the experts came to the conclusion that the worm ‘lives’ on computers at student printing services, that are often used for years without regular security updates and run old versions of operations, getting there through what seems to be a student essay that needs to be printed,” Kaspersky explained.

The reason for why is this an attack vector at all is simple – study material can become incredibly expensive incredibly quickly. While the temptation to pirate a textbook may be grand, having your student loans sucked up by a cybercriminal is a real threat that should be considered.

“Students attempting to avoid paying for textbooks and other educational materials creates an opportunity for cybercriminals that they simply cannot resist. This turns into are a serious problem for educational entities, as once the infection gets on a school network computer, it can easily spread,” says security researcher at Kaspersky, Maria Fedorova.

Stay safe out there folks.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]