The one thing that has exploded in the past couple of years on the Internet is web video.
People love to use the Internet to watch videos.
When web videos first appeared, they were too grainy and slow to be taken seriously.
There were many web start ups in the late 90’s that tried to capitalize on the trend but the technology just wasn’t there yet.
The experience was more of a let down than anything else.
Audio was able to avoid that problem by being small in size and easier to transfer.
The Explosion Of Online Video
Soon the onslaught of broadband around the nation made watching video less of a problem.
This caused video to be bigger than it ever was before.
Now everyone could experience and enjoy web videos.
Especially with the emergence of flash video, which made the file sizes even smaller, there was a huge explosion.
Now we see a bunch of different web sites that have flash video players of their own.
Some of these places, both legitimate and non legitimate, ask you to install special software to watch the video.
Sometimes this software is their own version of a flash player rolled up, so that they can either get metrics on your viewing habits, or they do not want everybody to have access to the video, so they use some sort of protection through this download.
Other times, the web site might ask you to install a special piece of software, called a codec, to watch the video.
This might be because they do not use Flash to play the video and the codec is not already installed in your system.
Some of these request are legit, but there are a lot more that are not.
If you do not trust the web site that you are on, then do not do it.
Security Issues With Codecs
One of the fastest growing ways to spread viruses, Trojans, and other malware onto people’s computers, is to ask them to download and the install a codec.
They tell you that they have an interesting video for you to watch, only to have you download their software onto your computer.
Once you download it and install it you will have accidentally installed a piece of malware onto your computer.
Once this is done, it can stay silent and use your computer as part of a botnet.
Or it can take the form of scareware – causing damage to your computer and tell you, that if you want everything to be repaired, you must send them money.
Either way, it is a bad situation to be in.
If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you are, at the very least, technically adept when it comes to computers.
You should make sure that you warn your friends and family about attacks such as these.
This scam is getting more and more popular, and your loved one could be next.
Tell them that they should not download or watch any video from a strange web site that ask you to do this.
Let them know, that the chance is not worth it.
Also tell them, that even if the site is trusted, scan the newly downloaded executable before they install it.
This will give them a warning before they put their computer in jeopardy.
Warning your friends and family about the spread of these dangerous codecs and fake Flash video players, can help curb the effectiveness of these attacks.
They are hard for the average person to be able to spot.
For the person that is used to dealing with computers, they will be able to spot it more easily.