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Viral Videos That Really Are Viral 157

davidwr writes to mention a BBC article looking at booby-trapped Windows codecs. While some codecs required for online videos actually let you watch your content, others are just excuses to infect your system with spyware or adware. As davidwr says: "Now virtual sex can make your computer sick." From the article: "Mr Robinson said many security firms were now logging instances in which spyware and adware firms are turning out software bundles that claim to roll together many popular codecs or just have the one needed to play a particular clip. Some of the codecs do help to play clips, but others are disguised as a variety of nuisance or malicious programs. Some rogue codecs plague users with pop-up adverts, while others invisibly install keyloggers that try to grab confidential data. "
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Viral Videos That Really Are Viral

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  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @12:45PM (#16659517)
    Running Linux does not make you invincable. It would be an easy thing to include some "if (OS == LINUX)" code. A captive Linux box is a worthier target than an XP box, and there are no "automatic" tools to sweep it clean. Many Linux users don't know all the things running on their box, nor pay much attention to it. Do YOU know what all the processes from "ps -ef" do? Are you sure that the process named is really that process?
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @12:47PM (#16659577)
    Why do people expect that codecs downloaded from arbitrary untrusted sources would be any less free of viruses, adware, etc... than any other random executables obtained off the net?

    Probably because only a minority of users realize that a "codec" is a kind of "executable" or "program", rather than a some kind of electronic "key" or "description" that enables a media player to decode a particular kind of media file. Its not like the boundaries between safe (or at least, safer) "data" and dangerous "code" are always obvious to non-technical users.

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