Holy Media Codecs, Batman!

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Batman is still in full swing at the box office - I'm sure me seeing it seven times probably didn't hurt - so with that in mind (and thoughts of the Zango / Dark Knight issue still rattling around my brain) I thought it would be fun to see exactly how quickly it can all go wrong when looking for Dark Knight material online.

The answer is: extremely quickly.

There's a lot of sites out there claiming to carry "full versions" of The Dark Knight, and although they don't offer Zango, they do offer fake media codecs (which usually do all sorts of horrible things to a computer). Let's pull one of these sites apart as an example of how the scam fits together.

Here's a typical site pushing what they claim to be The Dark Knight:

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Dijgg(dot)com, an obvious Digg.com knockoff apparently hosting a large streaming window - the movie quality will be awesome, won't it? Well, actually, no it won't.

In the middle of the video window is a popup:


Install the "codec", and this won't end well. The EXE comes from a site called Favoritetube(dot)com:


A quick check for the safety ratings of that website should be enough to tell you this is a scam. Indeed, there isn't even a movie being streamed here (despite it saying "Connecting" at the bottom of the movie player) - because if you right click on the player itself:


You can see the "player" is actually just a static image (because I'm given the option to "Copy Image Location"). The image is hosted at Favoritetube, just like the "codecs":


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There are quite a lot of these sites floating around out there at present:


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At this point, it's a given that I'm going to show you what happens if you install one of the files typically pushed from the above sites, right? Well, wait no longer - this....


...will deposit a rogue antispyware tool on your desktop (one of more more obnoxious ones that refuses to leave you alone):


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Strange and annoying icons will start to creep across your desktop:


....and you'll have more fake system alerts than you can shake a very large stick at:


This concludes my public safety announcement. I'm off to see Dark Knight again...

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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on August 27, 2008 11:10 AM.

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