Spam 2.0 spreads to YouTube

5 Oct 2007

As email filters become increasingly adept at catching all manner of spam, those churning it out are constantly looking at new ways of cheating the system, and have lately turned their attention to YouTube.

In 2004 Bill Gates famously declared that by 2006 the great spam problem would be solved. The volume of unsolicited emails sent out per day in 2004 was under 30 million. In 2007 this has risen to 90 million.

Although Spam 1.0, or simple text-based emails advertising prescription drugs or encouraging you to let money ‘rest’ in your account for a small fee, are by and large caught by email clients, there are a few emerging trends such as image-based spam that cannot be scanned for key identifying words.

Spammers are taking advantage of advice from the official YouTube help centre advising users to add to their “address book or filter exception list” in order to receive messages from friends with video links.

Masquerading as legitimate YouTube users, these spammers are using the “invite your friends” function to spam other users with a message appearing to contain a link to a video when in fact it has links and advertisements.

A social networking site which has been suffering from spam for several years is MySpace. Relying on the high tendency for MySpace users to gather hundreds if not thousands of friends regardless of whether they know the user or not, many spammers sign up for multiple accounts under a false identity and proceed to spam the comments section of MySpace users’ profile page.

By Marie Boran