back to article Spammers turn YouTube into spam relay channel

Miscreants have turned a YouTube service into a spam relay channel. YouTube contains a facility that allows users to invite their friends to view videos that they are looking at or have posted. This "Invite Your Friends" system is being used to send out "massive quantities of spam", according to content security outfit Marshall …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the same with Twitter

    I got rid of my Twitter account because of the number of "Fred is now watching you" style messages from them and when you went and looked at Fred's profile they were a spammer.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Got to ask..

    ..what's a "get quick scheme" ?

  3. Steve

    Only one 'l' in Marshal

    As in

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I don't understand is... spammers make any revenue from crap like this... You receive a cleverly disguised piece of crap ad for penny stocks or fake Viagra---and you instantly delete it in disgust and resolve once again to never do any business with any company that markets its garbage in such a fly-by-night way. At least that's what I do... This may be a rhetorical question, but are there really people so ignorant that they look at something like these and think: "Wow, I can have a bigger schlong", or "God must have sent this to me himself. I'm going to be rich"?


  5. Dillon Pyron

    Web 2.0

    Again, if this is Web 2.0, I'm waiting for the 2.1 release.

    I hear so many people talk about how 2.0 is going to change the way we interact with each other and how the net works. So far, it seems like pretty much the same junk, with a little exhibitionism and voyeurism thrown in.

  6. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    No comment on this - spammers suck

    I just wanted to see what the new icons did :))

  7. RW
    Dead Vulture

    @ Anonymous Vulture: Who falls for spam?

    The party line is that the hit rate for spam is about 1 in a 1000 and that's enough to make it profitable. I have my doubts, however. As our friend A.V. says, who can be stupid enough to fall for this stuff?

    It may be that it's mostly net newbies who fall for it, and then become immunized after being scammed once or twice, but I'm not sure this is a valid hypothesis. A friend has elderly parents (abt 80 y.o. both of them) and the parental unit *still* hasn't clued in, in spite of being connected for years now. AFAIK, they haven't been ripped off for anything much, but I gather they still think every email they get is a precious personal communicaton and must be read.

    If otoh the newbie hypothesis is right, then as the fraction of the population with net experience approaches 100%, the number of potential scammees will drop dramatically. Spammers may soon find that 1 in a 1000 hit rate dropping sharply.

    Of course, you can speculate about the dynamics of spam endlessly. One factor not to be overlooked is sheer greed: people who would ordinarily know better fall for get rich quick schemes.

    What's needed is a study of who responds to spam and why they respond.

    Finally, let me add that both A.V. and I may have the wrong focus. It's true that a lot of spam used to be for Viagra etc and for penny stock pump'n'dump schemes, but what are the figures these days for the makeup of the spam flow? What fraction are phishing attempts, what fraction are attempts to zombify yet another PC? Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. Player_16
    Gates Horns

    Re: What I don't understand is...

    There is software that you can purchase that's capable of sending out upwards of 300,000 e-mails a day. all you need is 1-2% of a get-rich quick scheme like those stocks that are 'going to explode' or the 'see lips being used for extraction' and that software has paid for its self in no-time. There are heaps of spam-bots that get loaded the same way. 300,000 spam-bots a day and someone new to computers and know nothing? The spammer says 'Hey, I got a bite!! Time to collect.' It's not going to be from the same individual but it's going to be from someone; and that's a lot! Almost wants to make me be a spammer with those odds to get-rich-quick.

  9. Joe

    Re: What I don't understand is...

    Yes, there are, otherwise the spammers wouldn't do it!

    Likewise, we all complain about junk mail and cold calls, but enough people must be saying "yes! Sign me up!" or the companies involved simply wouldn't do it because it wouldn't be profitable.

    They do it because it works (because there's one born every minute!)

  10. David Wilkinson

    People buy goods and services advertised via SPAM

    As long as people respond to advertising delivered by unethical means, people are going to come up with new and creative delivery methods.

    Sad truth is that spam is probably just as effective as any other from of advertising. Even people who know better will often follow a link and make a purchase.

    Personally whenever I help someone with a computer problem, I occasionally throw in some advice about no doing business with telemarketers, spammers ...

    Not sure it does any good.

  11. Daniel

    Re: What I don't understand is...

    What you're missing is the power of numbers. If only 1 in 10,000 targets are stupid enough to fall for the line, and you're spraying millions for cheap, this works out to be a pretty effective ploy.

    Sad, but true.


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get quick Marshal

    Typos corrected.


    El Reg

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @ ..what's a "get quick scheme" ?

    I think it must be related to those emails I get offering to "make monkeys fast", or something like that.

  14. David Eddleman

    Worthwhile to note...

    That it's increasingly happening on MySpace as well. I got a MySpace simply out of pure necessity (and to leave a small footprint on the web), and the amount of "Come look at my nude profile on this site" and other spam profiles has increased over the last few days.

  15. Morely Dotes

    Where the money comes from

    There are really only three kinds of spam:

    1. Spammer advertising something he allegedly sells.

    2. Pump & Dump/Phishing/419 scams.

    3. Spammer advertising someone else's product.

    In case #1, anyone who sends money or a credit card number has about a 99% chance of throwing his money down the bog; there probably isn't any product at all. If it's credit card number, move to spam type 2.

    In case #2, the victim either buys into the scam directly (pump & dump) or actively helps the spammer to steal from him. It would be a sort of economic Darwinism, except that the biggest cases involve the "victim" embezzling someone else's money to give to the spammer in (vain) hopes of reaping a windfall return.

    In case #3, but the recipients of the spam, and the damfool who paid the spammer are victims. However, I would support a law which confiscated 100% of the business assets of any business which paid a spammer to advertise for them; it's not as if this sort of thing is a rarity any more.

    So the money comes either from the recipients (with a rate of return of closer to 1/100,000 than 1/1000) or from stupid and greedy businessmen who think they can get advertising to millions of pairs of eyeballs for the price of a pair of socks.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @make monkeys

    I just got an idea how to make monkeys fast it involves rollerskates rockets and methedrine.

    Wile E Coyote Esq.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Where the money comes from

    Don't forget my personal fav:

    4. Spammer harvesting email addresses to sell to other spammers

    Sick world ain't it

  18. Danny
    Thumb Up


    Crucifiction's too good for these wankers polluting our lovely 'net. I can think of a better lingering death involving knitting needles and a hair drier. As for the tossers that actually respond to this shite...

    Oh, don'tcha just love visiting The Reg after a night at the pub. Hey, what are these icon thingies?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    re: @make monkeys

    If you ever succeed in your monkey experiment, please share video.

  20. Bradley Anstis

    There is another reason...

    This may not only be Spam, looking at the example on our Website they are trying to suck you into visiting a website and registering for a free XBox 360 you are supposed to have won, pretty much gurrantee that they are either gathering personal information for idenity theft, or installing a trojan!

  21. TeeCee Gold badge
    Dead Vulture

    Er, hang on...

    So, yer immersed in yer Web 2.0 experience and you find that you're being showered with messages about crap from useless tossers.

    Question: How do you tell that this is spam and not just another day in virtual lala land? There's not a lot of difference between "Buy our humungous-todger pills" and "Look at my video of me inhaling cornflakes" IMHO.

  22. Steve Roper

    @Morely Dotes

    "However, I would support a law which confiscated 100% of the business assets of any business which paid a spammer to advertise for them"

    If that was passed, all I'd have to do to eliminate our company's competition then is to pay a spammer to advertise them. Under that law, our competition gets shut down and we corner the market! Wow, imagine all the companies charitably paying for each others' spamvertising... imagine the chaos!

    Cool. I second your call for a law like that... ;-)

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