TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Media Files that Spread Spyware

Media Files that Spread Spyware

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 13 Jan 2005 02:56:16 -0500

Ben Edelman

Users have a lot to worry about when downloading and playing media
files. Are the files legal? Can their computers play the required file
formats? Now there's yet another problem to add to the list: Will a
media file try to install spyware?

When Windows Media Player encounters certain special media files, it
opens web pages specified by the files' creator. I recently tested one
such file, which opens a deceptive popup that attempts to install
software on a user's PC. If a user is tricked into pressing Yes once
-- in response to the program's false claim that a user "must" accept
it -- the program fills the user's computer with unwanted programs.
In my testing, some 31 programs, 786 files, and 11,915 registry
entries were added in a matter of minutes.

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