Cybersecurity researchers urge parents to keep track of their children’s online activities.
Avast security researchers have discovered a server on Discord where a group of minors is involved in developing, upgrading, marketing, and selling malware and ransomware strains on the platform, supposedly to earn pocket money.
The researchers believe all of them are minors since they repeatedly mentioned their parents and teachers and casually used age-specific insults. Researchers learned about their activities through their discussion on Discord.
Minors Promoting Easy-to-Use Malware
The hackers are involved in selling malware strains of Snatch, Lunar, and Rift and offer all kinds of services from info-stealers to ransomware and cryptominers. However, researchers noted that teen hackers mainly provide easy-to-use malware builders and toolkits, which help users employ the “Do it yourself” (DIY) approach to use them without actual programming. All they need to do is customization of appearance and functions.
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How does the Group operate?
Interested parties must pay a fee to become a group member or use the malware-as-a-service feature. The registration fee ranges between €5 and €25. In their report, Avast researchers noted that around 100 accounts have already subscribed to access a hacking group.
The malware distribution process is a little unconventional. The hackers create a YouTube video demonstrating a fake crack for a popular computer game or commercial software, including a download link in the description.
To develop a sense of authenticity, other members of the Discord group post comments on the video and thank the author while confirming that the link actually worked. This strategy is much more twisted than bots for adding comments since it becomes impossible to identify fraud when a video receives comments from genuine users.
How to Deal with Teen Hackers?
It is a fact that this scenario is concerning. Therefore, hacking talent among teens and minors must be diverted towards positive, ethical purposes for the overall betterment of the cybersecurity industry.
Parents must talk to their kids and understand the motivating factors that compel them to indulge in malware distribution. There are so many resources available on Discord and other platforms to help interested individuals start a career in the cybersecurity industry.
However, the first step is that parents should communicate with their kids without judging them. It is worth noting that the group performs illegal malware distribution without realizing the issue’s severity and perceiving it all as just a prank.