A new, dangerous viral video site popped up six days ago. The site, called "YouTube Extreme," tricks you into giving up your Facebook information and then does something much worse: If you click on any of the videos on the site, then you'll automatically download a file.
Installing that file could leave you with a massive amount of malware on your PC or Mac. I tried it myself and this is what I came up with:
If you take a look at the lower left-hand side of my browser, you'll see that "MPlayerX.dmg" was downloaded. That happened after I clicked the "play" button on a video that was supposedly coming from YouTube.
Turns out that the play button that I clicked actually was just hiding an actual YouTube link that was already on the site in the first place. They just want you to download the scammy software.
This six-day-old scam comes on the heels of a new study from Bitdefender that analyzed 850,000 Facebook scams and found that the site itself may be to blame for people getting fooled.
The Bitdefender found that the most common tactic that scammers would use to fool their targets was "clickbait." Taking the YouTube Extreme incident as a case study, the video that the scammers tried to fool me with was about a cheerleader having a mid-stunt accident.
That's not the only type of scam on the market. Here are some of what the study found to be the most popular scams on Facebook:
- 45%: Guess who viewed your profile
- 29%: "Feature" scams like changing background color
- 7%: Scandalous celebrity scams
Almost all of these scams are plausible. Celebrity gossip is massive on Facebook and the site is always adding new ways to customize your profile.
The cheerleader video scam that I showed you above feels very much like a stupid video that would make its way around Facebook. The only difference is that when you click the link, the scammers will try to steal your personal information and download malware to your computer.
How do you stay safe? Trust sites, not people. If someone was to get infected by YouTube Extreme's malware, then they'd probably be forced to post the fake video link to their Facebook feed.
If everyone on their feed knew to avoid links like that, then the hackers would be stopped in their tracks.
Staying safe can be as simple as keeping your friends and family up to date on the latest scams and security threats.