Home > Computers and the Internet > ZOMG! Run for the Hills! Another Antivirus Press Release!

ZOMG! Run for the Hills! Another Antivirus Press Release!

July 24th, 2011

E! Online has apparently just fallen off the file-sharing turnip truck, where it apparently was born yesterday.

They are acting like something new and unthinkable has just happened for the first time. Under the headline, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Computer Virus? Could Happen!” they report:

Antivirus software maker PC Tools has uncovered a phishing scam lurking within BitTorrent, where massive files (like the ones containing feature-length films) are transferred via smaller chunks to make them easier for computers to handle.

According to PC Tools publicity rep Curtis Sparrer, a result claiming to have located a free download of the final Harry Potter film will actually prompt you to visit another site so that you can obtain the required password “to stop automated leeching and detection.”

After you’ve saved what looks to be a legitimate file, the virus purveyors will have access to your hard drive. And, to add insult to injury, there’s no movie.

They located one? No, they uncovered one! Wow, that must have been hard!

Obviously, this is not a “virus,” as the headline claims, and any idiot who reads comments or has been sharing files for more than one day knows all about “password protected” downloads, just like they know about the multitude of fake torrents that litter the filesharing landscape. It’s hardly new–in fact, it’s older than BitTorrent itself. They also skip over a whole bunch of steps between visiting a web site and them having control over your hard drive, but I found it on another “news” report which gave more detail–on the malicious site, you have to go through a whole bunch of steps which includes installing a file on your hard drive and, I presume, giving it access–in other words, a trojan. Again, not a virus.

Looking at all the reports out there, most call this “new,” or the “latest” threat. I imagine the people who have downloaded movies and other files for any length of time must be laughing at the naivete of these “n00b” statements. It’s kind of like saying that if you travel to a big city, you should not stop and chat with the aggressive panhandlers, give them all the cash in your wallet, and provide them with your home address and times you’ll be out so they can “return the money” once things start going well for them. After all, that’s the latest new scam on the streets! Imagine New Yorkers rolling their eyes–or almost anyone, as you’d have to be light-years beyond bumpkinhood to not see that as obvious.

I suppose that this is just what happens in a mostly tech-illiterate media when an antivirus software maker issues yet another press release to stimulate sales.

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