Overpeer, a division of Loudeye, Inc., has been caught putting infected files on peer-to-peer filesharing networks, and putting attractive and likely sounding names on the files in order to induce users to download the files.
Thinking that they are downloading their favourite songs or other media files, the users only too late discover that the files actually contain pop-up ads, install spyware, open multiple pre-populated Internet Explorer windows, or some combination of the three.
One such file, analyzed by PC World for an expose they did on this matter, was labelled “Alicia Keys Fallin’ Songs In A Minor 4.wma”
The “.wma” indicates that the file is a Windows Media Player file. All of the trojan files discovered to date are in the .wma format. This is because, explains David Caulton, group product manager for Microsoft’s Windows Digital Media Division, a loophole in the Windows Digital Rights Management (DRM) process allows one to create one’s own media file and link it to adware, such as it is alledged Overpeer has done.
Overpeer first overappeared on the scene back in 2002, when it offered its services to record companies in their fight against pirating. At that time its “anti-piracy” services consisted of putting bogus files on the peer-to-peer networks which, when downloaded, either popped up an anti-piracy message or offered the downloader an opportunity to purchase the desired song.
While Overpeer can in theory be distinguished from its parent company, Loudeye, Marc Morgenstern, Loudeye vice president and general manager of digital media asset protection, says that Overpeer’s actions are “just deserts for people who illegally trade copyrighted works for free” according to PC World. “Remember,” says Morgenstern, “the people who receive something like (the ad-laden media files), in some cases, were on P-to-P, and they were trying to get illicit files.”
Ah, yes. That justifies installing adware or spyware on their systems. Yes indeedy.