Technology

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Antipiracy virus spreads through file-sharing websites

January 5, 2009 |  4:56 pm

Virus

Users of popular file-sharing websites: Your next pirated download might be your last. That appears to be the intention of the Downloading is Wrong virus that has spread on some torrent portals.

When a user downloads and launches an infected file, portions of the Windows system's code, called hosts files, are modified; they block access to piracy hubs Mininova, the Pirate Bay and the Suprbay message board. Then, a series of pop-ups begin to fill the screen and a sound file is activated that says, "Downloading is wrong," according to BitTorrent blog TorrentFreak.

Some pointed fingers at MediaDefender, a Santa Monica company that distributes fake music and video files on file-sharing websites to deter piracy. But many signs indicate the culprit is simply an anonymous prankster.

For one, according to postings from affected users, the virus originated from a package of pirated software, rather than the music or video files that MediaDefender would probably target. The Trojan horse gallops its way onto the computer when launching the included keygen program (a small file that creates a valid serial code to activate software).

Antivirus developer Sophos dubbed the worm Troj/Qhost-AC and says the company has updated its software to protect against the Trojan.

Viruses are traditionally distributed for nefarious purposes -- sort of like the Twitter phishing scam that exploded over the weekend, snatching passwords. But it's not too often that a Trojan comes along in support of a morality message.

Maybe we'll see a virus come along that blocks me from getting Rickrolled. Hey, a guy can hope, can't he?

-- Mark Milian

Photo: Virus by Daquella Manera via Flickr

Comments 

Advertisement










Video