Spam Strangles YouTube

A prediction two years ago by IT security solutions firm Kaspersky Lab on the possible use of YouTube as a medium for disseminating spam has finally been fulfilled.

youtube spam
Kaspersky Lab reported it has detected the mass mailing of unsolicited messages that include links to video advertisements on the popular video hosting site.

However, this is the first time the company's specialists have detected a mass mailing specifically intended to make users view an advertising video.

Kaspersky Lab's Content Filtering Research group recorded a mass mailing that contained a link directing users to a video advert on YouTube. There were several message variations in the mass mailing, but they all included the same link to YouTube. (See also "Straight to the Spam Filter: Astonishing E-Mail Messages You'll Never Open.")

Due to its worldwide popularity, YouTube is a potentially attractive resource for distributing spam, Kaspersky Lab said.

youtube spam
Artwork: Chip Taylor
"Naturally, this type of advertising is more interesting and gets more hits," said Darya Gudkova, head of content analysis and research at Kaspersky Lab. "Two years ago, spammers used the YouTube name and the promise of interesting videos to lure users to advertising sites. Now the links really do lead to this popular video hosting site which is being used to store unsolicited advertising content."

Yet Gudkova noted this is not the first time a creative approach has been used by spammers this year. Last April, messages were detected that contained nonstandard, complex images advertising spammer services. Noise techniques have also been applied to graphical files, causing problems for spam filters.

Kaspersky Lab reminded on how important it is for users to keep spam filters turned on in order to block unwanted or potentially hazardous correspondence. The spam filter training option in the company's products should also be utilized to constantly improve protection against all types of unsolicited mass mailings.

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