Gillian Spraggs (wolfinthewood) wrote,
Gillian Spraggs

Warning: fake book site full of malware

Update: the real World of Books site has been in touch to say that they have reported the fake site and it has now been taken down.

Warning: there is a fake free e-book site masquerading as 'World of Books' (which is also the name of a legit site,, that sells secondhand books). The fake site uses the url and purports to offer downloads of free e-books. If anyone clicks on a download button they are sent executable files that infect their machine with malware.

It is turning up on the web under ordinary searches - I stumbled across it looking for the Paston Letters, of all things. It purported to offer me a free download of one of the recent Early English Text Society volumes: which startled me considerably. The site looks very shiny and plausible, with FAQ and Contact Us pages, and a link for reporting abuse besides every download button. I pressed download experimentally (no, I wasn't planning to grab an apparently pirated book, I was curious) and was offered an .exe file: at which point caution set in rapidly, I killed the download and got out of there, grateful that I had been running Firefox with NoScript. Then I ran my antivirus checker, just in case, and after that I researched the site. There is some info about it in this blog post: Beware of

Note: it does not show up as an infected site on Google's search pages, despite the fact that it was identified as a malware site several weeks ago.

So: if you are looking for a title and stumble on don't be fooled into pressing the download button. I was already suspicious because the book was in copyright. But if they had pretended to offer me a free e-text of one of the out-of-copyright editions I might have been fooled.

And if you are an author and it turns out the site is pretending to offer pirated copies of your books: don't waste time trying to get it to take them down. It doesn't really have them; it's just using the book details as bait.
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