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Mac users warned over file-munching Space Invaders

Space invaders

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 4 Nov 2009 at 13:34

Security experts are warning Mac users over a Space Invaders-style game that deletes files from the computer while they play.

Dubbed OSX.Loosemaque, the program only works on its host website, but has the capacity to cause serious damage if it gets into the wrong hands.

“The game looks to be a throw-back to the classic Space Invaders/Galaga style of games from the early 1980s,” says security company Symantec, which discovered the threat. “However, what brings this game into the realm of malicious code is that for every alien ship you destroy, the game deletes a file from your home directory.”

Bizarrely, the author of the game explains the consequences on his site, which observers believe is a strange art project. The website carrying the game describes it as, "a game about choice and consequence, and by extension what it means to succeed or fail".

According to Symantec, although the game is not a major threat, it could be modified to create a more sinister form of malware.

“While interesting in its own right, there’s nothing stopping someone with more malicious intentions from modifying it slightly and then passing it on to unsuspecting users, causing significant damage to a computer,” the company says.

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User comments

Surely not?

This story can't be true. Everyone knows that Macs are immune to all kinds of computer nastiness thanks to a patented Steve Jobs force field emitted from the Apple logo, wheras PCs routinely Blue Screen and reboot themselves every 5 minutes, making them unusable for real work (which is all done on Macs).

It's true I tell you.

By Lacrobat on 4 Nov 2009

God, that one's really beautiful :) Reminds me of that (very) old e-mail joke about the Albanian computer virus (we're-not-so-technologically-advanced-so-please-d
elete-your-own-files-manually one).

I don't want to be nasty but the temptation is just simply to great.

Well, it takes a Mac user to fall for it :>

By Josefov on 4 Nov 2009

It's available for Windows too.

It's a program that deletes your files, in what way is that not worthy of a warning?

By steviesteveo on 5 Nov 2009

Actually Steviesteveo it only affects OSX Macs. The programmer who wrote it produced it as a form of "art" and even stated that it will delete a file in your home directory every time you kill an alien. However it is useful because it highlights a surprisingly easy way to cause grief to OSX users.

By skarlock on 5 Nov 2009

Who are the real baddies?

The thing is though, the aliens don't actually attack like the traditional space invaders - the aliens never actually fire at the player. So essentially, are you supposed to be an observer? Or an aggressor?

By BackupDirect on 5 Nov 2009

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