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Click-Fraud Trojan Boost Revenue Via Google, Yahoo hits

Researchers at Symantec, a security company, have said that the popular search engines such as Yahoo, Google along with Baidu.com, the largest independent search engine in China, have earned the interest of click fraudsters trying to disseminate a Trojan malware to increase ad click income.

According to Symantec, this Trojan called the "Trojan.Trafbrush" artificially increases the count of page views that different types of ads receive. Symantec has discovered this Trojan as the second of its kind, the first being, Trojan.Farfli, also discovered recently.

According to Zulfikar Ramzan, Senior Principal Researcher at the Symantec Security Response, the creators of the Trafbrush Trojan run Web pages designed to display click ads originating from the mentioned search engines for this reason these affiliates are called click fraud Trojan, as reported by SCMagazine on March 14, 2008.

Ramzan also says that the individual behind the Trojan has probably joined with the mentioned affiliates. In the world of Internet advertising, the search engines behave as agencies that help companies place their ads on appropriate Websites. The affiliates and the search engines then share the revenue accrued from the ad displays, thus, enabling the affiliates to earn a commission for hosting a given ad on their Web page.

In addition, Chen Yu, another researcher at Symantec, said that the writers of Trojan.Trafbrush seem to form well-organized group. For the hard work they perform, their affiliates must pay them well while the affiliates must also consider it worthwhile, as reported by TRAFFICJAMS on March 12, 2008.

Moreover, the Symantec-discovered that Trojan drops a number of files along with an object as browser helper onto a victim's computer. This browser helper item opens URLs linked to affiliate addresses at the search engines, alternatively conducts searches for particular keywords.

Further, the click-Trojan increases a false number of search results called "click-throughs" that the ads attract via automatically generated clicks from infected computers. However, the authors of the Trojan might be more interested in popular targets, thus, raising their rates of 'hits' that boost the revenue earned.

In either case, the Trojan aids the affiliate in earning clicks, resulting in the dubious income.

Related article: Click Fraud in Q3 Rises for Industry, Including Yahoo! & Google

» SPAMfighter News - 3/24/2008

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