November 7, 2006 6:30 PM PST

Adware may be lurking in video on MySpace

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November 3, 2006

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Several MySpace pages offer what appear to be YouTube videos that trigger the installation of adware when played, a security company has warned.

The sexually explicit videos can be found on a number of user pages on the MySpace social-networking Web site, Websense said in an alert Monday. They look like YouTube videos, but are in fact hosted on a copycat "" Web site, Websense said. That Web site was still online as of Tuesday evening.

"When users click on the video, they are directed to a copy of the video," Websense said. People are then redirected to the Windows Media Player, which will pop up a license agreement with installation of an adware program called Zango Cash, it said.

"Assuming that users have accepted the agreement, the video downloads and attempts to install setup.exe from Zango Cash," Websense said.

Word of the sneaky installations of Zango's software comes just days after the advertising software maker and the Federal Trade Commission announced a $3 million settlement in response to charges that Zango had breached federal law by deceptively installing its software on consumers' PCs without a clear means of removal.

Zango was formed in June through the merger of 180solutions and Hotbar.

In exchange for displaying ads, Zango gives access to content such as videos, games and tools. The company pays up to 45 cents per installation of the software, according to its Web site. Antispyware programs typically flag the Zango software as "risky."

See more CNET content tagged:
Websense Inc., MySpace, adware, YouTube, installation


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Windows Only
Seems like the article could mention that this only affects PC's
running Windows. Or it could even provide detail about which
versions of Windows are targeted.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
even more to the point
It only effects people that are dumb enough to think that Myspace and Youtube have gotten in to the porn game.
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
CNET, tell it like it is. This is a WINDOWS problem only..!!!
Go to and try to run one of those videos on a Mac. It
wont play..!!
I'm sooooo happy I switched to a Mac :-)
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac not worth the effort
It's not a Mac problem because it's not possible, it's because there's not enough Macs to make the effort pay off.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
MAC / WIN-test area's
I have never sat down at a MAC or APPLE Computer..but think that in the mind of a confident PC-user there are TEST-area's..we have our OPTIONS[I am a Rock-I am an Island]does work w/Windows if your ready to RUN a test in area's you might wish as a for the Internet and its Cyber-CAFE/its a test area or its a BUST.
Posted by castingRod47 (19 comments )
Link Flag
Of course... doesn't work.
Of course, many other things don't work on Macs either.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Link Flag
Not a problem for me
"Go to and try to run one of those videos on a my Mac. It wont play..!!"

Go to and try to run one of those videos on my PC. It wont play..!! I'm sooooo happy I reset the security level for the internet zone to more restrictive settings. I do have seperate security settings for those websites I trust which allows the "whistles and bells" to work just fine. I'm so happy I can play cool new games on my PC.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
actually it's a windows MEDIA problem, not a windows problem. If you have the quicktime codec that plays media player files, or you have windows media player for mac installed, you will get the same results, although the .exe won't run on a mac unless you have WINE installed.

However, did you forget about the fact quicktime videos can open up browser windows and navigate to web sites? That's a MAC problem!
Posted by LordOrwell (3 comments )
Link Flag
The FTC should take swift and fast action
Zango is responsible - all these people with toolbars and other spyware should be gathered up, and shot.
Posted by lonny paul (52 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PCs, Macs, and Adware
PCs running windows have adware to contend with. Macs don't have this problem because of their operating system's security measures plus their not as popular, so they aren't targeted.

Pcs running linux or unix don't have an adware problem for the same reason macs don't Linux and unix systems aren't targeted with adware. Only windows based pcs are.

It seems clear to me that we either need to make adware illegal, make windows secure, do away with windows altogether, or just be boy/girl scouts and be always prepared.

Keep your system updated, regardless of what system you have and always use a firewall. If you use windows, scan for adware, daily. Keep on top of it, don't let up.

If the number of installations drops bigtime, it won't make them money and it'll be worthles for them to infect you in the first place.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Security has improved but you can do more
Security provided by the updates has improved security. Spyware and adware no longer have the abilities to install themselves without your knowledge like they used to. You are now warned with popups when they try to install and can stop them (this requires fortitude on your part to deny what you don't trust). However, you can do more. You can subdivide the internet into zones: those you trust and the rest of the internet. You can set higher security levels for the internet zone (higher than the default) and provide greater protection. The security levels for your "trusted" websites can be set to allow you to experience all the whistles and bells you desire. It's simple to do, and yet from experience, something most of the people I know will ignore.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
No, no, no, I want to whine!
I refuse to be sensible and take responsibility for my own actions while online.

I don't have to be responsible. I own a Macintosh G3 AND G4, although the G4 still needs a power supply (damn proprietary hardware!) and the G3's Firefox browser got hijacked so all searches go to porn sites, but hey, at least it's not a Windows box.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
The Horse has bolted
The horse has bolted. Regretfully i'd like to point out that
spyware, ad-ware etc. was a very real problem years ago, yet the
authors of this story, i.e. CNet and software site,
actively engaged in allowing the scum meisters to bundle these
insidious programs with the downloads offered on these sites
(including As a developer, I often faced misplaced
and misdirected criticism from users, blaming my software just
because it happened that after a download their systems went
awry (which was the scum ware kicking in). I complained to Cnet,
ZDnet and that these bundles were destroying
the Windows 'experience', asking why they allowed bundling. No
response. Years later they began a policy of making developers
disclose bundling arrangements, which had no effect as many
users were quite ignorant as to what these disclosures meant.
Cnet etc. finally made it a no-go, but by then it was too late, the
horse had bolted. In fact, so much of my time was spent trying
to solve tech support issues (that had nothing to do with our
downloads - most often it was Real Player or some other
insidious program hijacking system mime files) that I finally gave
up Windows and concentrated on servicing the Mac community.
The removal of stress was a god send, and worth the trade-off
for the improved quality of life. This was even despite being
offered lucrative payments if we bundled spyware with our
popular windows downloads (I said no) . Even today the word
'windows' sends shivers up my spine. Thanks to Cnet, I switched,
along with 45 friends and family, over 3 years, to Mac.

P.S. what is this myth that macs aren't targeted? They are, often,
and all fail. Windows is, unless a user is as adept as a pit crew
mechanic, a flawed system, bottom line - and Cnet helped it to
become so all the way.
Posted by flashfast (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Man has given up
Congratulations, you went from a community of more than 85% of the market to one with less than 5%; wise business move. If you move to MacOS 5 you won't have that much stress either, why don't you try that? The effect of "shivers up spine" in some people when they hear the word "Windows" (which they are going to continue to hear for a long long time) is typical in people who don't know how to work correctly with that OS. Thanks to Cnet, you, along with 45 friends of yours and family, switched to a platform where you can't even run 10% of the software avilable nowadays - congratulations, have fun with each other - while me along with more than 85% of the people who use computers have sticked to Windows and, at least for my side, I never have big problems with it (because I, unlike other people, know how to work with it and how to protect myself).

P.S.: Yes, Macs are targeted. Seldom (proportioned to Apple's market share: less than 5%) and still not-unusually they succeed (proove of that are the exploits to the Apple Wi-Fi Airport driver). Unlike what you say, Windows is, unless a user is as "weak" as you to give up so quickly instead of learning with the mistakes, an as-flawed system as all the others, just much more used, bottom line - and Vista will help to make comments of Apple fanboys like you look humilliating and ridiculous.

P.S. 2: How are you and your superior friends and family getting along with RSS?
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
Zango should be Zapped out of the market
Another Zango, 180 Solutions, Gator... call 'em what you like... but regardless of how often they change their company name... they're still up to the same no good stuff.

On another note, if you browse the internet, you need strong security. And if you want to see sexually explicit/pornographic stuff... then you need even tighter security.

Bottom Line: Only those not security concious will be infected!

Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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