Feeds

MySpace slams ad networks over 'scareware'

Para-sites

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Updated MySpace has engaged in its fair share of fights over the past few months, battling alleged spammers and fending off lawsuits. Now we're hearing an allegation that the social networking site has been serving ads that hock pesky programs known as "scareware." And rather than call out the big guns, the social networking site is rolling over and playing dead.

James Kingsley, a PhD student in the UK city of Sheffield, said his wife encountered ads on Monday while tending to her MySpace account. The insult, he said, extended to repeated attempts by one of the advertised parasites to install the program using ActiveX.

MySpace screenshot with DriveCleaner ad

"That's the thing that really struck me as being malicious," Kingsley told us. "Although my wife is pretty skeptical about these things my mum wouldn't be."

The two pieces of offending software, Kingsley said, included WinAntiVirus Pro and DriveCleaner, and he included screen shots - posted here - that appeared to back up his claim. One shot also appears to show a warning from Internet Explorer that winantivirus.com was trying to install a program.

Security companies have issued warnings about both programs. Sophos, for instance, says WinAntiVirus loads a "spyware detection installer application which downloads applications that may exaggerate threats on a user's computer and ask user to buy software to remove these threats." Indeed, using Google to search for "winantivirus" and clicking on site associated with the product results in a rather terse warning that "visiting this web site may harm your computer!"

The same warning happens for DriveCleaner, which Symantec describes as "a security assessment tool which gives exaggerated reports of security and privacy risks on a computer."

MySpace, after promising on Monday to look into Kingsley's report, failed to respond to the half-dozen emails and phone calls we left over the past two days. We were unable to locate the maker or makers of WinAntiVirus and DriveCleaner for comment.

So we are appealing to you, our esteemed readers, to relate any instances of MySpace or other mainstream sites serving naughty ads. Please contact your reporter at the link above. ®

Update

Several hours after our story appeared, a MySpace spokeswoman issued the following comment:

Adware is against MySpace's terms of service. These ads are being delivered by ad networks who distribute them to over a thousand sites across the Internet in addition to ours. We work to have these ad networks remove such ads so that they do not appear on our site.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.