Discord teens are deploying malware for a quick buck

Teens organized their malware schemes via Discord before the group was shut down.

A group of teenagers use a laptop for online learning or homework in nature on a sunny day.
Liliya Krueger/Moment/Getty Images

A group of teens used a Discord server to distribute malware — some that can mine cryptocurrencies, run ransomware attacks, and steal passwords and information. The group members, who were mostly between the ages of 11 and 16, discussed aspects of teenage life like school, their parents, and their teachers — and about tactics to hack people with malware-as-a-service. The group was discovered by researchers at Avast, a digital security software company.

Malware community-building — The group charged new members a small fee (less than about $30) for access to the Discord server, which was essentially a big group chat. Access to the Discord gave access to an easy-to-use malware builder and to an active community.

In some cases, they’d all work together. They’d create a YouTube video to use as bait, which would explain cracks or tips for video games. The video would encourage viewers to click a link in the description — which would put the malware on the victim’s computer. To make the video seem legit, the members of the Discord group would add seemingly genuine comments of gratitude saying that the download link was safe.

The group of young hackers used malware-as-a-service, which doesn’t require extensive technical ability. The teens would take existing malware and make small changes before deploying it.

Discord organizing — Like subreddits, Discord servers are moderated by members of the respective communities. And while some Discord servers are public, others operate behind closed doors, adding new, vetted members by invite only.

It was on Discord servers where fraud flourished between the international group of teens who later gained notoriety for their SIM-swapping tactics — which were used to hack the Twitter accounts of prominent figures. The teenagers who hacked Twitter used their incomprehensibly large platforms to tweet a stale phishing scheme from the official accounts of people like Bill Gates and Joe Biden and were later arrested.

Perhaps if you put enough teenagers in a Discord server, they’ll end the internet as we know it as some p0ggerz prank.