It’s bad enough seeing ads all over YouTube, but some shifty malware has been making things even worse. A couple of YouTube-downloader apps have been sliding in a bunch of unauthorised ads and selling them to big brands like Amazon, Blackberry, Kellogg’s and Toyota. So if you’ve been trying to snag some free YouTube vids, you might still be paying for them.
The apps to blame are “Best Video Downloader” and “Easy YouTube Downloader”, which can be traced back to California-based company called Sambreel. Both apps are designed to aid users in the big no-no of downloading clips — an explicit violation of YouTube’s terms of service — but along with that forbidden functionality came the counterfeit ads.
Spider.io, which uncovered the scheme, found at least 3.5 million installation of the ad-peddling plugins, but that’s only scratching the surface; there could be plenty more affected users out there. This isn’t the first time Sambreel’s been caught putting ads on your ads, but this time the plugins aren’t just popping in display ads, they’re pushing video ads as well.
The big-name advertisers who are buying these spots probably don’t know what’s going on, so the all the shiftiness falls squarely on Sambreel’s shoulders. But hey, if you thought the “Easy YouTube Downloader” didn’t have something up its sleeve, you were probably being a little optimistic. [Spider.io via BBC]
Here’s what some of the sinister ads look like, according to Spider.io: