Avast has revealed an online community creating, exchanging, and spreading malware on the popular communication platform Discord.
Discord is a group-chatting platform originally built for gamers that have since become a general use platform for many kinds of communities. Normally, there are many hacking forums on Discord, this one is composed mainly of teenagers.
The experts say the group advertises easy-to-use malware builders and toolkits so that users can DIY their own ransomware, information stealers, and crypto miners.
According to the Avast malware researcher, Jan Holman said, “kids and teens are attracted to the groups because they see hacking as cool and fun. The malware builders provide an easy entry, they require no actual programming, just customization of functions and appearance, into this activity and allow kids to prank people and make money. “
Activities by far aren’t Harmless, they are Criminal
The researcher Holman says, “these activities by far aren’t harmless, they are criminal”.
“They can have significant personal and legal consequences, especially if children expose their own and their families’ identities online or if the purchased malware actually infects the kids’ computer, leaving their families vulnerable by letting them use the affected device. Their data, including online accounts and bank details, can be leaked to cybercriminals”, he added.
Features in Discord Communication Platform
In this platform, the users can communicate via voice, video, or text and it also facilitates doing group activities together, like playing video games, watching movies, or hacking teachers.
Discord is organized by “servers,” which are created by users, some of which require an invite to get into and others of which are public. A server will be dedicated to the main topic and then will have “channels” underneath it for specific sub-conversations around that same topic. Anyone can set up a Discord server and decide the rules of that particular space.
On this platform, kids and teenagers can hang out with their friends. Additionally, it’s not as “mainstream” as other social networks and is likely outside of the view of their parents, who may be listening in on other platforms.
The minimum age to be on Discord is 13, but it’s an all-ages platform. That means some servers are very adult and include not only adult conversations but sometimes pornographic imagery and other adults-only content. So, it is better to talk with your kids.
How-to Guide and Protect your Kids?
Experts suggest communicating with your child to make them understand the ethics and importance of being a good citizen. Direct your teens by showing how other teens have made serious money via ethical hacking. You can look on to Discord, for servers aimed at computer programming and ethical hacking.
Avast Global Head of Security (and parent of two teens with black hoodies) Jeff Williams says, “If your child shows an interest in hacking, encourage it, but also talk about issues of consent”. “Hacking by itself is not a bad thing – understanding how things work and don’t work deepens an understanding of the technology in question. It’s when that knowledge is used against another party that it becomes problematic.”