Feeds

Resident Evil viral marketing ploy backfires

Mobile virus hoax taxes support desks

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A marketing campaign to promote the latest version of the Resident Evil video game has provoked a panic about the spread of a non-existent mobile phone virus.

Users have received unsolicited SMS text messages on their mobile phones telling them they are infected by the so-called T-Virus, prompting calls to AV company Sophos about the supposed outbreak. The messages are sent from a website designed to promote the game Resident Evil: Outbreak, in which players defend themselves against zombies by blowing their heads off with a shotgun.

The website allows unsolicited text messages to be sent to mobile phones claiming that the phone is infected, without the permission of the phone's owner. A typical message reads: "Outbreak: I'm infecting you with t-virus, my code is ******. Forward this to 60022 to get your own code and chance to win prizes. More at t-virus.co.uk."

"The messages themselves are not infectious, but some people have panicked that they might have received a real mobile phone virus," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "This marketing campaign seems particularly ill-conceived, as there is so much genuine interest in the mobile virus threat at present."

CE Europe, the company behind the marketing campaign, has issued a press release which makes it clear that the whole thing is a promotional stunt. IT departments and anti-virus support staff have enough work in dealing with real viruses without dealing with hoaxes. Doubtless, they will be less than whelmed by the self-proclaimed ingenuity of CE Europe's viral marketing tactics.

It's not the first time a virus hoax has been started to promote a product. In 1996, Penguin Books started the Irina hoax in an attempt to promote a new book. The hoax continued to spread and cause confusion for some years. VMyths provides extensive background on the whole virus hoax phenomenon. ®

Related stories

Bill Gates tops email hoax list
Hoax virus alert could cripple Windows Java
Joker demands $1 million over hoax virus alert
Hoax virus alert targets MP3

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.