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Is Browsezilla a Malware Magnet?

You've all heard about malware writers targeting Web browsers. But have you ever heard of a browser that intentionally inserts malware onto a user's PC?

That's exactly what security firm PandaLabs alleges the freely available Browsezilla Web browser does. Browsezilla developers dispute the allegation.

Browsezilla, is quite obviously trying to capitalize on the Mozilla name and iconography with the use of a Lizard and the "zilla" part of its name, though there is absolutely no relationship between the Mozilla and Browsezilla browsers, whatsoever.

The Browsezilla Web site displays adult links, which, according to the Browsezilla site, "is used for stimulation of users to installation BrowseZilla."

The Browsezilla Web site claims that there are more than 80,000 users of its software.

PandaLabs alleges that Browsezilla, "discreetly infects computers with the adware PicsPlace." That particular piece of malware connects to various adult Web page content periodically, though those pages are not visible to the Browsezilla user. The Browsezilla software is currently available only to Windows XP users.

Allegedly the objective of the malware is to "fraudulently increase the number of hits on the sites."

Such a fraud could be part of a scheme whereby the people behind Browsezilla benefit financially in some way from the traffic.

The other negative effects are that that malware could reduce a user's available bandwidth, as well as unknowingly cause a user to visit pornographic websites.

"Today the prime objective of malware creators is to receive some kind of economic return through their action," Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, said in a statement.

"A typical technique for distributing their creations is to offer some kind of free utility, in this case a Web browser, then exploit the trust of users and take some kind of malicious action from which they can profit."

Browsezilla disputes the claims made by PandaLabs. Furthermore, Browsezilla alleges that as of 1:30 PM on June 26, it had not received any answer from PandaLabs in response to their questions about the malware security advisory about Browsezilla.

A PandaLabs spokesperson was not available for comment.

"As we have not received any answer from Panda till this time, We have decided to look what in code BrowseZilla is not pleasant to this company dear by all," the Browsezilla site states. "Results have appeared simply tremendous and inexplicable."