Grand Theft Auto mod virus uses YouTube to spread

The video is safe, but the download mod it advertises is not.

Sample image from GTA: Hood Life FaceTime Security Labs

Someone is using a Grand Theft Auto mod video as a way to trick viewers into infecting themselves. Although YouTube videos remain safe to view, that hasn't stopped criminals from finding new ways to entice YouTube viewers to get infected with the latest Trojan horse. The latest example is a Grand Theft Auto video for a mod called Hood Life. According to Chris Boyd, Director of Malware Research at FaceTime Security Labs, the graphics in the mod are lame. He says the images used in the video are circa 1986, crudely rendered, not up to the high standards of the GTA game itself, yet at least 54 people have nonetheless downloaded the game.

GTA: Hood Life download image FaceTime Security Labs

Watching the You Tube video is safe. The danger comes at the end when the video displays a site where you can download the game mod itself. Should you download the file and install, your computer will be compromised upon reboot. Boyd says that if you really want this gangsta game, "switching off the PC pretty much spells doom, gloom, and other things ending in "oom," because once the desktop reappears, you'll discover that the only drive-by performed today was on your computer."

Boyd notes that he's seen other YouTube video where the criminals teach you how to write and distribute viruses. In this case, the video acts only as a distribution for an already complete package of malware hosted somewhere else.

About the author

    As CNET's former resident security expert, Robert Vamosi has been interviewed on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets to share his knowledge about the latest online threats and to offer advice on personal and corporate security.

     

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