Other issues in this category (21)
A reliable partner?
Doctor Web news posts often mention referral programmes. Here is an example:
Trojan.LoadMoney. A family of download Trojans generated under the LoadMoney referral programme. These applications download and install various unwanted programs on computers.
Under cash-per-install referral and partnership programmes, many Trojans currently in use download and install software on user computers.
What partnership and referral programmes are we talking about? And how can they harm users?
There is nothing inherently wrong about the idea of referral programmes. Incentives of this sort can be used to promote various projects on the Internet or make them more profitable. But the problem is that many such programmes are fraudulent and can be used with malicious intent.
Here are a few examples of the dubious programmes:
- People host links and banners from other sites participating in the programme on their own sites and get paid for each click. A programme of this kind can be used to draw visitors to certain sites and make them appear at the top of search results.
- Advertisements for goods in online stores with a certain percentage being paid from every purchase. Can be used to promote scams.
- Pay-per-action programmes. In this case, the participants are paid for specific actions performed by users who open links under the referral programme. The actions may include registering on a website, purchasing goods, taking out a bank loan, etc.
- Cash-per-file. Here participants can be paid for file downloads or when archived contents are extracted. A scheme using the second option is described at the beginning of this issue.
- A percentage payment per SMS or email. In theory, participants are promised 70%-80% per SMS from any user they engage. In reality, such offers often conceal fraud schemes or lure people into sending messages for spammers.
- Pass CAPTCHA tests.
- Allow ads to be displayed in a browser.
- Install applications whose authors want to promote them by increasing the frequency with which they are downloaded and installed on smart phones. These programmes can be abused to promote malware and infect mobile devices.
We've only mentioned some partnership programme options—many more exist. But we think that you've gotten the idea. Some companies don't want to invest in conventional offline marketing. They'd rather provide incentives for partners and offer them a share of their profits. We do believe that legitimate and respected companies also use referral and partnership programmes to promote their business. But the arrangements under some of the programmes can easily turn them into fraud schemes.
And both parties in a scheme can be defrauding each other—this often happens in pay-per-click and pay-per-ad programmes.
Trojan.Kovter can be categorised as an adware Trojan because it runs several windows of Microsoft Internet Explorer simultaneously, visits websites specified by virus makers, and generates traffic for them by following advertising links and banners. This is how the attackers make money off of affiliate programmes and advertisers.
Once a device owner consents to install the software and taps the corresponding button on the webpage, they are directed to the Google Play page containing information about the application being promoted. Criminals get paid for each successful installation under the referral programme, so it’s not surprising that they’ve crafted as many versions of Android.Click.95 as they have, in the hope of maximising their profits.
It’s entirely possible to earn money through legitimate partnership or referral programmes. But often the income earned doesn't sufficiently compensate participants for the time and effort they’ve invested.
As we’ve mentioned before, improve the quality of your account page. Clients often require a page to feature 20 photos, 100 posts, 100 friends, etc. If you want to increase how many clients you have, improve your website. This tip may come in handy for everyone who uses social media to make a living.
But, if you can generate quality content for your website or webpage, why participate in programmes?