Feeds

Spammers turn YouTube into spam relay channel

Will anyone notice the difference?

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Miscreants have turned a YouTube service into a spam relay channel.

YouTube contains a facility that allows users to invite their friends to view videos that they are looking at or have posted. This "Invite Your Friends" system is being used to send out "massive quantities of spam", according to content security outfit Marshall.

The messages, which all come from service@youtube.com, have the same appearance as a legitimate YouTube invite, except they contain pitches for tat such as penis pills and get-rich quick schemes instead of links to online video tat. Both could be considered forms of junk anyway which partly explains why cybercriminals have adopted the tactic.

"Spammers are doing this to defeat spam filters and to lower the recipient’s guard by making it look as though the messages are coming from a perfectly innocuous email address. YouTube’s own Help Centre suggests that you exclude the service@youtube.com email address from spam filtering. The spammers are keenly aware of this," said Bradley Anstis, Marshall’s director of product management.

In August, spammers used a Trojan to automatically generate large numbers of Hotmail and Gmail accounts from which to send spam. The YouTube attack is working on the same principle, according to Marshall.

Sending junk mail from compromised Windows boxes under the control of hackers has become the most popular method to send spam over recent years. But spammers are always looking for new techniques to ensure that their junk mail messages get through. Before botnets entered the scene the use of insecure corporate mail servers that provided "open relays" was widely used by spammers. In some ways the YouTube attack put a Web 2.0 spin on an approach that ceased to be effective, thanks to improved corporate security and block lists. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.