Experts at Security Firm McAfee have issued a warning about the dangers associated with downloading fake files posted online by cyber-criminals in a bid to attract unsuspecting victims.
Internet users are drawn into downloading media files featuring popular groups like British Brit-Nominated Girls Aloud or Earth Wind and Fire from file-sharing networks such as eDonkey or Limewire.
Downloading and running the files - MP3, MPEG or Others - gets a prompt asking the user to install a codec to watch or listen to the file; this then spews endless adverts on the victim's computer.
The application runs only on Windows computers and takes on names in several languages to avoid detection and infect as many users as possible.
Toralv Dirro, a security strategist at McAfee's Avert Labs, says that users are lucky this time around that the threat was relatively "benign" and warned that this could be the beginning of a more worrying trend, especially after the initial success of this first run.
Although various legit companies have been spreading dummy files on file-sharing networks in order to combat piracy, it is the first time that crooks have been using those networks with such results.
In a single week, more than 530,000 computers have been booby-trapped according to McAfee, the largest fake media contamination the company has witnessed in years.