Kinda a stupid idea, isn't it?
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 …
"Mac enthusiast blogs, such as Cult of the Mac, have criticised the move as treating Mac fans as just as dumb as Windows users."
They're actually dumbER. The "Mac has no virus" argument has been toted for so long that Mac fans will no longer be wary of suspicious programs as for them, the Mac will never have malicious stuff like virii or trojans and such.
As for the game ... it looks like something the BOFH would do... does anyone remember the DOOM game where the mobs represented networked-PCs???
As a piece of "art" it's quite interesting, killing things leads to loss for the player. It makes you think.
However, while you might think someone would need to be pretty stupid to run this on their own Mac, this is a real threat. Imagine English isn't the person's first language... if the warning had been in Dutch would you have thought the "victim" so foolish? Or if the player is a child.
So while as an art project it's interesting and thought provoking, it's still malware.
... narration tells a blatant lie: that the game warns you that "killing the game" kills your documents. No. It warns you that killing *aliens* deletes your documents. It even tells you which document it's deleting when you kill each alien. Not cool, Symantec. Not cool.
Seriously, Mac users may not be famed for their awesome PC repair skills, but you'd have to be a complete and utter moron to not know what the game does.
Malware is software written with *malicious* intent. This game EXPLICITLY tells you what it will do. In big, bold, very obvious warning messages.
Computers can only mitigate against software like this up to a point. No OS on the planet will prevent you deleting your *own* files if you tell it to, either directly, or indirectly (by running a game which deletes them for you).
The missing link is education—an unfashionable concept for many. AV and anti-malware snake-oil merchants wouldn't make anywhere near as much money if it weren't for the wilfully ignorant.
As good Mac owners you'll have a Time Machine backup anyway, so no harm in the long run.
(just as long you remember to disconnect your TM during play...)
Incidentally, Leyden neglects to mention that the game deletes itself when your ship is destroyed.
Genius! When can we see a Windows version?
How come this is newsworthy now? I first read about it back in september (on neatorama IIRC) and the general consensus back then was was that Gage is a cock if he thinks that people need it explaining that killing things has consequences. The point being that most normal people can tell the difference between a game and real life and don't need some "artist" to spell out morality in ten foot high letters. It's a shite analogy anyway for a number of reasons, the main ones being that killing something would not necessarily have such direct 1:1 consequences and that you can't back up real stuff against such consequences. I play this game I restore some files or maybe I just sneakilly play with permissions to prevent the game from deleting files. Wow Zach that's like such a deep analogy of life and death. Or not.
Or maybe the "news" is that some "security" experts are treating it as a trojan. Well I don't think it's news that AV firms tend towards cockishness as well.
Oh God. Heh heh, *snark*
Do they mean that only savvy users buy macs? That is bad news for Apple, they will never gain a dominant position in the market...
That said, I remember that after having a laptop PC for two years, I was told I was completely crazy not to have an antivirus installed, and there were certainly many viruses on it already... I did install the antivirus, which happily confirmed that there was not a single virus on the laptop. Is it so hard not to install trojans on your own system?
Or are all users as savvy as PH?
Like the game. I'm not going to play it, of course, but I applaud the idea.
As to the ``someone might modify this'' argument from symantec, well, if you can do that you can write a program that deletes files without requiring you to kill aliens for that.
Yes, very much not cool from symantec, but then, scaring people makes them buy more protection and that is what symantec sells for a living. Why does el reg support these respected corporate FUD salesmen?
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021