In the leadup to the 93rd Academy Awards, Kaspersky has found malicious sites using Oscar-nominated films to lure potential victims.
According to the cybersecurity company, the sites pretend to offer users the opportunity to watch the films for free.
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These include Best Picture nominees such as Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, and others.
How Oscars scams work
Kaspersky notes that users are shown the first few minutes of the film. The site then asks a user to register to continue watching.
However, while registering, you are then asked to enter your bank card details. The phishing scam then debits money from the card and the film does not continue to play.
“This type of phishing is widespread and considered to be one of the most popular among scammers,” Kaspersky notes.
However, the films are not only used for phishing scams. Cybercriminals also use them to spread malware.
Researchers found a number of malicious files disguising themselves as movie files.
“Analysing the malware detected during the past year, Kaspersky experts found that almost 70% of malicious files are only disguised as three movies: Promising Young Woman, Judas and the Black Messiah, and the Trial of the Chicago 7,” the company said in a statement.
The trend is nothing new and cybercriminals often use popular movies and shows to lure victims.
“Cybercriminals have always tried to monetise users’ interest in various sources of entertainment, including movies,” Kaspersky security expert Anton V. Ivanov says.
The company warns users to avoid sites and emails that promise early screenings of series and movies.
Kaspersky notes that the most secure way to view this content is through the streaming services that provide them.
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