YouTube Addicts Beware

June 16, 2008 – 11:38 AM

From Web sites related to online banking, credit unions, financial departments, and social networking sites, phishers are chucking their rods into relatively new territory: video streaming sites.

Trend Micro Content Security team learned about this latest (and very interesting) phishing technique a few days back. Several phishing domains (see Figure 1) carry scripts that refer to legitimate YouTube video links.

This nifty social engineering technique means that the user can actually search and watch videos not knowing they are within malicious domains. In fact, when a user finally logs on to YouTube (still within the malicious domains), the browser redirects to the real YouTube site. However, the key risk here is that since the fake login console resides on the malicious domains, it is highly possible that whoever is behind these servers is going after the users’ login information.

The motives? To get the user names and passwords of YouTube users and use them in order to gain a high page ranking. While monetary gain seems unlikely, a slight stretch of creativity points us to the possibility of phishers selling this “service” to fly-by-night promoters and ad agents, or basically to anyone willing to buy stolen data to increase their hits.

We are still closely inspecting how this technique works and are monitoring domains that use similar techniques. We believe these sites may have been set up in preparation for a spam run that contains links pointing to these sites. But we are not waiting for that spam run to show up in our honeypots. As early as now, the two malicious domains are already blocked by Trend Micro Web Threat Protection technology. As usual, users are advised to visit their regular online haunts using their clean bookmarks and to refrain from clicking on links in unsolicited email.

To create a bookmark (in Windows), type in the URL of the desired site in the browser’s address bar and press enter. Once the site shows up, go to Favorites and click Add Favorites, then press enter to save the bookmark.

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