Unauthorized YouTube advertisements exposed

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A team of security researchers from London has found and exposed a scheme which incorporated unauthorized advertisements into Google’s YouTube. The firm Spider.io discovered two programs which placed ads on YouTube’s website when they were viewed by affected PCs.

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The security firm said that the plug-in had been promoted as tools, in order to download videos from the service. The firm added that some directed users to malware and this was in breach of YouTube’s rules. The firm which is responsible has been named as California-based Sambreel. However, the company did not respond to the media’s requests for comment.

Yontoo, one of its subsidiaries said, “The Best Video Downloader and Easy YouTube Downloader products have been discontinued.” It was reported by Financial Times that this happened only after Sambreel was alerted to Spider.io’s findings. The Imperial College London computer scientist PhD graduates founded the security firm and reported that some of the added advertising slots had been sold on via exchanges to some well-known brands, including Amazon, Toyota and BlackBerry.

The firm also said that others had been brought by ‘malvertisers’, which means malicious online advertisers. The security firm added that it had identified about 3.5 million installations of the YouTube-focused plug-ins, but believed that there could be more.

Photo Credits: BBC