Google's free code-hosting Web site for developers is being used to distribute malware, a security researcher said on Friday.
Google Code is a place where programmers can host projects and code. Along with the legitimate code are links to fake videos that direct users to download a missing codec, said Dave Marcus, director of security research for McAfee Avert Labs. The codecs turn out instead to be password-stealing Trojan horses and programs geared toward stealing financial information for identity fraud, he said.
"They're using it as a way to send out links or as a place to house their links and redirects because it's Google and obviously it gets highly ranked in the index," he said. "The bad guys look for services like this as a way to push out code."
A Google spokesman said the company has removed malware-distributing projects from Google Code and search results.
"Google works hard to protect our users from malware. Using Project Hosting on Google Code, or any Google product, to serve or host malware is a violation of our product policies," the spokesman said in a statement. "Using automated tools, we actively work to detect and remove sites that serve malware from our network. We have removed many of these projects from Google Code and from our search results. Additionally, we'll continue to explore new ways to identify and eliminate such content."
The problem is similar to one that was found to be plaguing Microsoft's MSN Spaces site a year ago and continues to occur there, according to a McAfee Avert Labs blog posting.