Spyware pushed via Google ads
Posted on 04.01.2012
Not every ad you are served by Google is good for you, warns Zscaler's Julien Sobrier, as he spotted a suspicious looking ad for a free Flash Video player in his Google Reader:

By clicking on the link he was taken to the download page of the player, which repeats many times over that the offered player is free. But only at the bottom of the page the disclosure statement reveals that the software is bundled with additional products that "may include advertisement."

This particular piece of adware/spyware seems to install a toolbar along with the player, opens a number of ports in the system, attempts to connect with remote servers and request a number of URLs from them.

But the point that Sobrier wants to make is that users should always be careful of what they download - even from trusted third-parties such as Google.

"The ad was found on the RSS feed of a security company specialized in cleaning up infected websites," he says. "This highlights the fact that even reading content from otherwise legitimate resources can inadvertently lead users to unwanted applications when sites include third-party elements (JavaScript driven ads in this case, but also IFRAMES, widgets, etc.) that they do not not have control over."


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