Fake YouTube videos lure users to adware

'Yootube.info' brings forth a blizzard of pop-up ads

Fraudsters are attempting to con users into installing a controversial adware engine using fake porn videos from YouTube as bait.

According to Websense Security, several pages on MySpace are being used to host videos that appear to be from the social phenomenon of the moment, YouTube.

Anyone choosing to watch the videos, which appear to the user as pornographic, are directed to an Amsterdam-registered website called "Yootube.info" and asked to agree to an end user license agreement (EULA) in return for watching the content using Windows Media Player.

Running one of the videos will actually download a setup.exe for the Zango Cash Toolbar, a rapacious adware platform likely to serve users up with a blizzard of pop-up ads they weren't expecting.

Earlier this month, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a US$3 million settlement after the company responsible for the software, Zango, had been accused of using "unfair and deceptive methods to download adware and obstruct consumers from removing it, in violation of federal law."

According to the FTC, Zango Cash has been installed on more than 70 million PCs, serving an astonishing 6.9 billion ads, usually after a deceptive install process reminiscent of the YouTube con initiated by one of the company's many -- and shady -- third-party partners.

Websense has included blocking of the website and executable in its security filtering software. No other companies are believed to have reported the scam yet.

The incident is only the latest in a small but growing number of instances where fraudsters are attempting to cash in using the lure of Video content on sites such as YouTube and MySpace to execute subtle forms of social engineering. In September, a claimed video compression and decompression utility, zCodec, turned out to be a system for installing malicious adware.

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John E. Dunn

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