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Security researchers have discovered samples of adware posing as ActiveX controls that allow voyeurs to watch online smut.

The ploy used by ImageAccesActiveXObject represents a new tactic in the battle to infect users' PCs, according to anti-virus firm Panda Software. The malware infects Windows PCs when users visit hacker-controlled websites posing as repositories of porn. When users visit these sites a window opens offering "erotic pictures". If the user agrees, another window informs that an ActiveX has to be installed. This control, however, is really the adware ImageAccesActiveXObject as demonstrated in a video produced by Panda on the threat.

“Before now we had seen adware disguised as codecs to see videos, but never as ActiveX controls for viewing pictures. This is another strategy for tricking users. They think they are giving their consent to the installation of a legitimate tool when really they are allowing adware to be installed”, explained Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

Once installed, the adware takes users to a page - which is currently unavailable - hosting smutty pictures. Meanwhile, malicious code is surreptitiously loaded onto compromised PCs. Among the sample of malware loaded onto PCs is SpyLocked, adware warning users that their computer is infected, and detectingImageAccesActiveXObject. The "scareware" posing as security software will not allow computers to be disinfected unless users register the product. ImageAccesActiveXObject also downloads the Securitytoolbar adware, which installs a toolbar and displays intrusive pop-up pages when users visit certain websites. ®

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