Feeds

Spammers turn YouTube into spam relay channel

Will anyone notice the difference?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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 essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?