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Woburn, MA – October 4, 2022 – Kaspersky researchers have uncovered an ongoing malicious campaign distributed via a YouTube channel with more than 170,000 subscribers. Cybercriminals spread malware to collect users’ personal data and obtain full control over the victim's computer by placing a link to an infected version of Tor Browser in the description bar of a video about Darknet.

Kaspersky researchers identified multiple cases of infections via malicious Tor Browser installers spread via the explanatory Darknet video. This channel has more than 170,000 subscribers, while the view count on the video with the malicious link exceeds 57,000.

Screenshot of the video with a link to the malicious Tor Browser installer in the description section

Most of the affected users were from China. Since the Tor Browser website is blocked in China, individuals from this country often resort to downloading Tor from third-party websites. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are keen on spreading their malicious activity via such resources.

The analyzed version of Tor Browser is configured to be less private than the original Tor. It stores browsing history and all the data the user enters into website forms. Additionally, it distributes spyware to collect various personal data and send it to the attackers’ server. Curiously, unlike many other stealers, OnionPoison does not seem to show a particular interest in collecting users’ passwords or wallets. Instead, it tends to be more interested in gathering victims’ identifying information, which can be used to track down the victims’ identities, such as browsing histories, social network account IDs and Wi-Fi networks.

This fact is concerning, since the risks are moving from digital to real life. The attackers can gather information on the victim’s personal life, their family or home address. Additionally, there are cases when the attacker used the obtained information to blackmail the victim.

The spyware also provides the functionality to execute shell commands on the victim’s device.

“Today we witness how video content is replacing text, while video platforms are more often used as search engines,” said Georgy Kucherin, a security expert at Kaspersky. “Cybercriminals are well aware of the current web consumption trends, hence they started to distribute malware on popular video platforms. This trend will stay with us for some time, and that is why it is highly recommend installing a reliable security solution to stay protected against all potential threats.”

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a similar malicious campaign, do not download software from suspicious third-party websites. If using official websites is not an option for you, it is possible to verify the authenticity of installers downloaded from third-party sources by examining their digital signatures. A legitimate installer should have a valid signature, and the company name specified in its certificate should match the name of the software developer.

Learn more about OnionPoison on Securelist.com.

 

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Sawyer Van Horn

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OnionPoison: Infected Tor Browser installer distributes through popular YouTube channel

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