Trojanized Super Mario Brothers Poses Serious Threats to Telework!

In the era of remote work, maintaining the security of your teleworkers has become more important than ever before. As companies adapt to the changing landscape, cybercriminals are also quick to evolve their tactics to exploit any vulnerabilities. Just when you thought your teleworkers were safe, a seemingly innocent source of entertainment has taken an alarming twist because recently, CRIL identified a trojanized Super Mario Bros game installer delivers multiple malicious components, including an XMR miner, SupremeBot mining client, and the Open-source Umbral stealer. Threat Actors (TAs) used game installers to spread various malware because games have a wide user base, and users generally trust game installers as legitimate software and malware has been distributed through game installers and can be monetized through activities like stealing sensitive information, conducting ransom attacks, and many more.

The Unexpected Threat:

It all starts innocently enough – a nostalgic craving for the classic Super Mario Brothers game. In a world dominated by high-tech games and sophisticated graphics, the pixelated charm of Mario still manages to capture hearts. Who would have thought that the world of video games could intersect with the world of cybercrime? As incredible as it may sound, cybercriminals have managed to infiltrate even the most trusted sources of entertainment. By disguising malicious software within downloadable files of Super Mario Brothers, they have created a Trojan horse that can cause damage on your teleworkers’ systems. 

The Triad of Threats:

1. Crypto miners – One of the most concerning aspects of these Trojanized downloads is the possibility for crypto miners to be installed on your employees devices. These mining applications run silently in the background while utilizing the device’s resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The result? Sluggish performance, overheating, and a significant drain on battery life.

2. Persistent access – These Trojans are made to provide cybercriminals an access to your teleworker’s systems. Once the malware gains a foothold, it can establish a persistent connection, allowing hackers to remotely control the device, steal sensitive information, and even spread the infection further across your network.

3. Data Stealers – Your employees’ personal and company data are at risk. Trojanized Super Mario Brothers downloads can contain data-stealing modules that harvest sensitive information such as password, credit card details, and proprietary business data. This puts both your employees and your organization in a precarious position.

Protecting Your Teleworkers and Your Organization: The good news is that you can take proactive steps to prevent these threats and keep your teleworkers safe:

  1. Educate and raise awareness – Make sure that your teleworkers are aware about the risks of downloading content from untrusted sources. Encourage them to only download games and software from reputable platforms.
  2. Antivirus and security software – Provide your teleworkers with robust antivirus and security software. 
  3. Strong password practices – Emphasize the importance of using strong, unique passwords for all online accounts. Consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security.
  4. Regular updates – Remind your teleworkers to keep their operating systems, applications, and security software up to date. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software.
  5. Network security – Implement strong network security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and virtual private networks (VPNs), to secure remote connections.
  6. Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) Controls – If your teleworkers use RDP, ensure that it’s properly configured and protected with strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access.

As the lines between work and personal life blur in the remote work landscape, prioritizing cybersecurity measures is non-negotiable. By staying informed, educating your telework force, and implementing robust security solutions, you can create a safer and more secure remote work environment for your team. Remember, a little caution and preparation can go a long way in maintaining a secure and productive remote work environment. So, next time you’re tempted by that nostalgic urge to relive the adventures of Mario, make sure you’re taking the right precautions to keep your teleworkers and their digital realms safe from harm.


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Paul Bergman runs a business strategy and cybersecurity consulting company in San Diego. He writes on cybersecurity and board management for both corporate and nonprofit boards.

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