A nefarious new hacker tool now circulating on the Net lets baddies create ‘perfect’ replicas of YouTube pages which can allow the hackers to enslave the computers of unwitting video fans.

Online security watchdogs warn users to beware of certain e-mails containing links to YouTube videos. Such e-mails are commonly used to advise friends and subscribers to YouTube sites of the availability of new videos. But the hacker version of the e-mail advisory links recipients to a fake YouTube error page saying that the video requested cannot be viewed without new or updated software. The new software is actually a hacker kit allowing the baddies to recruit the user machine as a secret slave, to blast out mass e-mails or help the hackers invade more computers.

After the hacker software is downloaded and installed, the fake YouTube page finally displays the video that the e-mail advertised in the first place. And users are totally unaware that their computers have been hijacked.

There are some simple ways to avoid this new wrinkle on an old hacker trick.

First, once you’re at the fake site, you’ll notice that the browser destination bar doesn’t show the real YouTube URL.

And it’s just generally a good idea to avoid downloading any software on an on-the-fly basis, especially stuff that’s being pushed at you via unsolicited e-mails!

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