Cybercriminals are targeting consumers looking to watch some of the big summer blockbusters such as Barbie, Oppenheimer, Super Mario Bros, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and have been distributing links to download sites on social media networks such as Twitter. These links are not what they seem, however. Rather than getting an illegal copy of a movie to watch at home, the links direct people to phishing sites where they are required to enter sensitive data or to sites hosting malware.

It is no surprise that cybercriminals have jumped on the Barbieheimer bandwagon given the huge popularity of the films, and with less money available to spend on luxuries like cinema trips due to the current cost of living crisis, many people will attempt to download the films illegally.

According to NordVPN, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 is the riskiest download with 38 concerns raised, including 19 malicious links, 13 phishing warnings, and 6 malware concerns. The second riskiest film was the Super Mario Bros. movie with 23 concerns, including 15 malicious links. Barbie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and other popular summer blockbusters were also being offered in an attempt to distribute malware. Researchers at Reason Labs report similar findings, with links to the new Super Mario Bros movie found to lead to a variety of malware downloads. 150,000 of its customers report that they were targeted with malware.

Malicious files may be relatively easy to identify. Rather than a video file, the downloaded file is an executable file such as a.exe file; however, malicious files may be hidden. Double extensions are often used, and since Windows hides known extensions, the true nature of the downloaded file may not be obvious. While cybercriminals are targeting consumers, businesses are also at risk. Many employees attempt to download pirated material at work and risk infecting their work devices with malware.

One easy-to-implement solution to protect against malware downloads from the Internet is a web filter. WebTitan is an easy-to-implement web filtering solution for businesses that can be used to carefully control the web pages that users can access, whether they are in the office or using work devices remotely.

Businesses can filter the Internet by category and block sites commonly used by cybercriminals for malware distribution – warez sites, torrents, etc – and known malicious websites where malware has been detected. The web filter can also be configured to block certain file downloads from the Internet such as executable files. Logs are maintained of all Internet access to allow employers to see the sites that users are attempting to access, allowing them to take action when employees are engaging in risky behaviors.

Malware is commonly distributed via the Internet and businesses that fail to implement controls are at risk. If you want to improve your defenses against malware, give the TitanHQ team a call and ask about WebTitan. The solution is available on a free trial to allow you to test the product in your own environment before making a decision about a purchase and product demonstrations can be arranged on request.