Cyber criminals have shifted some of their efforts to focus on freelance workers in their new malware campaign. They spread malicious documents that are pretending to be job offers or job briefings.
A few freelancing websites have been confirmed to have been targeted. A few good examples would be Fiverr and Freelancer.com. They provide freelance services to millions of businesses all over the world.
Freelancers, casual workers, and international contractors rely on emails and other forms of communications over the internet to build and maintain a good standing relationship with their employers and to find new work opportunities as well. Here is where the emails and internet communication software comes as very important to them. It is now being targeted since it is common for freelancers to receive emails containing common documents needed to estimate work cost and estimated time frames.
This standard practice among freelances have now been targeted due to its simplistic and common nature. At first glance it does not look malicious, however, attackers have placed attachments to appear as “My details.doc” or something similar which contains malware. This technique has been utilized in a few freelancing platforms.
Freelancers have been contacted using the freelancing platforms and given job offers. Coincidentally, attackers take time to respond in times when the recipient is unable to open the attachments. Ironically, they explain what to do, which in turn infects their computers. These documents contain macros to download malware payloads, one of the common ways they use to infiltrate PC’s
Computers that are not up to date with the latest windows patches are vulnerable. One more thing to make sure is not enabled by default are macros. If one or both of them are not corrected, you are at a high risk of getting infected. Last but not the least, be vigilant when opening documents and attachments coming from individuals you do not know.
As a safety precaution, freelancer or not, do not enable macros unless you know what you are doing. Keep your computer up to date with the latest updates and patches. Install a real-time threat monitoring software like anti viruses and anti-malware.