To Watch This Video You Need To Install A Codec – DON’T DO IT!

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If you are attempting to view a site’s video content, and you get a popup advising you that you need to download a new codec to enable viewing – DON’T.

A favorite method used by cyber criminals to drop malware on unsuspecting users’ computers, is the requirement that you must first download a “missing” codec, to enable viewing.

If you’re curious, or you’re not convinced that this is a potentially dangerous scenario – go ahead and click. But, before you do, make sure you have:

A current backup CD/DVD, or other media, containing your irreplaceable files – you’re probably going to need it.

Your original operating system install disk – you’ll need this too.

Your system and peripherals driver disks. Without these you’re going to spend hours on the Internet locating (if your lucky), drivers that were written specifically for your peripherals.

You can save yourself all this trouble, and heartache, just by one simple action, or more properly; by a single inaction. Don’t click!

It’s possible of course, that you may be lucky, and you may be able to recover control of your computer if your anti-malware applications are up to date, and the malware signature database recognizes the intruder as malware.

But I wouldn’t count on it. Often, anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database can be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.

Consider this: Currently there is an epidemic of so called “rogue software”, on the Internet, with much of it being delivered by the constantly evolving Zlob.Trojan, or the  Zlob.Video Access Trojan, which are often hidden in fake, and malicious, codec downloads.

As the following screen captures illustrate, there is a wide variance in these invitations to install a missing, or “required” codec.

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Common sense should tell you, if a website does not recognize a standard codec, there is something wrong. Ask yourself this question; how long would a website stay in business if a visitor is required to download a specific codec to view content? The answer is clearly – not very long.

Don’t be the type of person who clicks indiscriminately at every opportunity to do so. If you do, I guarantee you – your computer will be infected within minutes.

To ensure that you have a full set of codecs on your computer, consider downloading one of the following free codec packs. With a full set of codes installed on your computer, any request to download a site specific codec, should be viewed with suspicion.

Windows Essentials Codec Pack – Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack provides a set of software codecs for viewing and listening to many forms of media in Windows Media Player. While this program merely enhances a media player, it does a fine job of accommodating many different and unusual types of videos and music.

Download at: Download.com

The K-Lite Codec Pack – There are several different variants of the K-Lite Codec Pack. Ranging from a very small bundle that contains only the most essential decoders, to a larger and more comprehensive bundle.

Download at: Codec Guide.com

Media Player Codec Pack – The Media Player Codec Pack is a simple to install package of codecs/filters/splitters used for playing back music and movie files. After installation, you will be able to play 99.9% of files through your media player, along with XCD’s, VCD’s, SVCD’s and DVD’s.

Download at: Download.com

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10 Comments

Filed under Audio Software, Codecs, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Malware Advisories, Rogue Software, scareware, Software, Utilities, Video Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

10 responses to “To Watch This Video You Need To Install A Codec – DON’T DO IT!

  1. John

    Hi Bill,

    Porntube, now that’s a good one, I never knew such a site existed. 🙂

    Cheers
    John

    • Hey John,

      Here’s the thing. Porn Tube is now actually one of the safest sites on the Internet. I guess they’ve learned to keep the screwing on the screen, and leave the viewer alone. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Timely advice. If I had a dollar for everytime I’d seen this scam, I would be rich.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      It used to be that this type of thing was almost always restricted to porn sites but, as you’ve discovered, it’s now everywhere. Especially on social sites.

      Best,

      Bill

  3. Ramblinrick

    Bill,

    I have always warned my friends about wallpaper and screensaver sites being carriers of malware; NOW, I need to be adding codecs to the list. In regards to people who click indiscriminately; the cybercriminals know this and sometimes they don’t even have to put a worm on the hook.

    As always Bill, your dedication to keeping us abreast of these things is a real service.

    Rick

    • Hey Rick,

      You’re so right – there are so many dumb fish in the Internet sea, that just throwing in the line is often enough to catch the unwary.

      BTW, I love compliments from other A level Bloggers – so keep ’em coming. 🙂

      Bill

  4. Liam O' Moulain

    Thanks for this Bill.

    Every day I drop by here, I learn something new.

    Liam

  5. Hi Bill,
    “Porn Tube” that’s a new one.
    For me if VLC won’t play it, I don’t need to watch it.
    Mark

    • Hey Mark,

      Since I have to checkout porn sites (infrequently), as part of the job (try explaining that one to your significant other!), I’ve found that even VLC is not always up to the task. Installing a codec pack though, took care of that.

      Have a great long weekend (you’re probably on the job though).

      best,

      Bill