Feeds

Mac art project game destroys aliens files

Lose / Lose

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A Mac game that deletes users' files has sparked a debate about whether it's malware or not.

The Space Invaders-style game deletes a file from the Mac home directory every time a user destroys an alien ship. The application, released as part of an art project, clearly warns this is what it does... in big red letters (link to video of game here).

Of course malware often thrives on people who ignore warnings, so security firms including Inteco, Sophos and Symantec that produce Mac OS X anti-malware products can't really be blamed too hard for adding virus detections that brand the software as malicious and prevent it from running.

The game/Trojan was created by digital artist Zach Gage under the moniker Lose / Lose and published as part of Electrofringe's exhibition of online art, Electro Online 2009, back in September.

Symantec - which published a video of the app in action and an alert on Tuesday, weeks after the "threat" first surfaced - said another reason for adding detection is to guard against the possible creation of copycat packages.

"While the author of OSX-Loosemaque actually informs people on his website that the game deletes files, there’s nothing stopping someone with more malicious intentions from modifying it and passing it on to unsuspecting users who don’t have security software installed," Symantec said in a statement. "Online games are increasingly becoming a target for virus creators, and this threat shows it’s a possibility regardless of the platform."

Mac enthusiast blogs, such as Cult of the Mac, have criticised the move as treating Mac fans as just as dumb as Windows users.

Meanwhile some security researchers, such as Chris Boyd of FaceTime, took issue with the decision by Symantec et al to label the game as a threat - especially in the absence of any victims.

"This game has been kicking around for a few months now with no fuss - and then all of a sudden, Symantec are calling it a Trojan and sites abound with pitch forks and hand grenades," Boyd writes in an entertaining blog entry here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.