Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

A wanted virus

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day – a virus that members of the public actually wanted to spread:

Romanian security firm BitDefender has revealed that after releasing signatures to protect its customers from a virus that deleted files from their computers containing gypsy music, it was inundated with letters of complaint from customers who wanted the virus to spread.

The virus, dubbed Antiman.A, was discovered at the end of April and duped users into executing its payload by pretending to contain news about three Romanian journalists that had been kidnapped. When run, the virus searched the victim’s computer for files containing the names of Romanian gypsy music singers.

While this does sound a bit out of the ordinary, having visited Romania 4 years ago I don’t find it completely surprising. There, gypsies are very much second-class citizens – shunned by the ‘settled’ classes as untrustworthy, they find it difficult to get jobs and therefore usually have no permanent residence. Many own little more than a cart, a horse and the clothes they wear. I remember a friend of mine wanted to ride on a horse owned by a farmer near to the field centre where we staying and he was very confused – there horse-riding is something that the gypsy underclass do, not rich western tourists.

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