Spidey senses tingling? That Spider-Man: No Way Home torrent is probably full of malware

A screenshot of the opening scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Cybercriminals are attempting to exploit the popularity of the Marvel franchise to distribute crypto mining malware, a new report suggests.

Researchers from security firm ReasonLabs have warned that a malicious torrent file is doing the rounds, masquerading as the new Spider-Man: No Way Home movie. Downloading the torrent infects the victim's device with malware than mines Monero cryptocurrency.

To avoid detection, the malware strain is capable of adding exclusions to Windows Defender to avoid detection. It also creates persistence and even a watchdog process to make sure it runs without disruption, ReasonLabs explained.

Taking up CPU power

Although they are relatively benign from a data security point of view, crypto mining malware absorbs a large proportion of the infected computer's memory, reducing performance dramatically. Furthermore, cryptominers can also result in high electricity bills for the victim.

Typically, cybercriminals opt for Monero miners, given the high level of privacy afforded by the cryptocurrency.

As usual, people should be extra careful when downloading content via torrents, especially in-demand content such as new movies, music or TV shows, the researchers warned.

On the most basic level, users should always double-check the file extension before running the file. A movie will usually have a .mp4 extension, while music should use the .mp3 file format. Applications (including malware), on the other hand, are usually .exe files.

It's also important to note that torrenting movies is a criminal offense in the majority of countries worldwide. To avoid being identified, users often use VPN services when torrenting, which is one of the reasons Russia cited for its latest round of VPN bans.

Via ZDNet

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.