Using my web-browser, I clicked a link on Google Scholar that led to a fake paper (in .pdf format). The pdf contained many keywords and phrases related to the research topic, possibly for search engine indexing, but it was not a readable paper. The paper did not contain a link to another site.

My question is: what is the purpose of these fake academic pdfs? Is it to install malware? Why upload a pdf filled with keywords, but nothing else? In my particular case, here is a link from Google Scholar that contains the site hosting these pdfs:

(omitted link because, as described, the target is to malware)

WARNING: I scanned the site using different tools and found that it is malicious.


The answer is in your warning: found that it is malicious. When a malevolent person creates a malicious pdf, (s)he wants as many victims as possible. So , adding a wagon-load of keywords attracts readers (you in this case), and therewith possible infected computers.

  • But there could be reasons beyond malware, which is what I would like to know. It could be that the pdfs are used to exploit Google Scholar in some manner. – Sam Smith Jul 1 '19 at 17:00
  • @SamSmith, maybe. That's the problem, though; without an in-depth study of the malware itself to study all of its behaviors, nobody can say, and it's quite irresponsible to pass malware around, even if you're sending it to security professionals. Ljm has answered your question as much as anyone can: It's malicious. It would be foolish for most people to poke at it, and any motivations beyond the intent to harm is personal to the malevolent person who made it. – Ghedipunk Jul 1 '19 at 21:22

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