File this one under “I could see this coming”. McAffee has issued an alert for 2007: Hackers will probably start to target video downloads.
Downloading video is 1) so easy these days and 2) it has had an explosion in popularity. Those two things combine to create a prime target for hackers. That is the reason we should have an increased awareness, especially since video can be downloaded to cell phones and PDAs. How many bad words would you say if a hacker gained control of you cell phone? D’oh.
The reason for the risk is because security always lags behind new technology. This month, the Realor worm was released and it is the first to target a video file format. It embeds malicious content within the video file so when the viewer opens the video file, they are taken to the web site that contains the exploit.
The Realor worm was not really a widespread threat but it is and will continue to grow into a more prevalent threat.
As of now, the best advice is the same advice that has always stood: Do not open ANYTHING from a source you do not completely trust and be cautious even when you receive a file from a source you do trust. If you have any doubts about the file, contact the sender first to verify that they sent it to you. Better safe than sorry ;).