back to article Freetard-targeting Trojan seeks to scam scaredycats

A sneaky new Trojan attempts to extort money from BitTorrent users under the guise of a fictitious copyright infringement lawsuit. Malicious pop-up messages generated by the malware, which is being spread via fake files offered up for download through BitTorrent, seeks to bully victims into agreeing to pay out for a "pre-trial …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Expect more of this

    And how is the average computer user supposed to be able to tell this scam from other schemes such as those by ACS:Law? They all take advantage of guilty until proven innocent civil copyright law. Even the innocent are better off paying up than face large legal bills just defending themselves in the current climate. The Digital Britain bill may actually do some good here, with warning letters rather than straight to lawsuit. Still based on the same dodgy evidence of IP address only though.

  2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    The cynical amongst us might suggest...

    ...that the only reason that this is considered a scam is that those involved don't have law degrees.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The shape of things to come.

      Now that Mandelson's Digital Gangster's Charter has been washed through parliament with the rest of the legislative detritus we can look forward to a tidal wave of blackmail threats from legal firms based on nothing other than your IP address and the claim that since it is exclusive to you then you are obliged to pay financial compensation to their copyright-owning client and, naturally, reimburse the legal firm for any costs they have incurred in exposing you as a master criminal.

      Now, you might think that even an intellectually challenged turd like Mandy would have realised that your IP address is an integral component of every data transaction on the internet and is therefore vulnerable to interception and misuse by the bad guys. In other words, it is as exclusive and privileged as a shit in a pig-pen

      But just to pre-empt any threatening letters from ambulance-chasing lawyers and provide yourself with a stonewall defence it might be a good idea to publish your IP address on a public website such as El Reg.

      Okay, so it's a free VPN, but what the hell - anything to muddy the waters of digital spying.

  3. giraffe

    " Targeting The Unsuspecting"

    This is taking advantage of the changes being made in " The Copyright Infringement Laws " and as such will be able to prevent people downloading music illegally. This website has taken this to a new level of malware by stealing the law and all that it was put in place to achieve and secondly try to steal money under false pretences.

    The article by John is both informative and as usually the links are excellent added to "My Yahoo Bookmarks" and will be sent across web plus visited F Secure suggest anyone interested take a look ?

  4. Danington the Third


    Dear El Reg,

    I am riting to you on this day of mourning to inform you of my approaching deth; this tiem tomorrow i will be dead from the cancer of brain. I have here the sum of 85bajillion dollrs (US ONLY) in life savings, and I must give to my next of kin before my doom, or the moneys will be losted! Please contact me soon with your bank details, date of birth, memorable word, spouse name, and copy of your passport very soon so that we can arrange for trafnser of fundings.

    Please email to

  5. irish donkey

    Not sure who is worse

    These or the blood sucking vultures threatening to take old people to court

    1. David McMahon

      Difference is

      the lawyers are allowed to do it!

  6. Anonymous John

    Copyrighted Title

    Not a new RIAA tactic, is it?

  7. Chas
    Jobs Halo

    Yet another reason... ditch that utter pile of garbage known as Windows. Just get a Mac, or run a decent Linux distro like Ubuntu and say goodbye to this shite.

    Why anyone with more than two braincells would ever use Windows is quite beyond me.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Because I have more than four braincells

      If you use linux you're limiting yourslef in app choices. Lastime I checked ubuntu couldn't run cs4, henceforth I'm out there. And the only reason macs are secure is because they have a fairly small market share, couppled with a hideousley locked down and crippled os. (Yes I know I'll be flamed for this, but hey I'm an anon coward).

      Therefore I conclude that windows is the only os that is supported, with enough features to be productive.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Why would you want to run a bloated yet feature-stripped version of Adobe Photoshop CSx? I thought Photoshop 5 for Macintosh was the last good Photoshop, versions after that were dropping features left and right.

        Tux, because The Gimp is good enough for me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Windows rocks...

        coz it's got msn and skype and stuff, init?

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "Why anyone with more than two braincells would ever use Windows is quite beyond me."

      Maybe it's beyond you because you don't have more than two brain cells yourself.

    3. Toastan Buttar

      Re: Get a Mac / Linux / Whatever

      Macs and Linux-based PCs can be vulnerable to trojans, too. When infection requires user interaction, all bets are off regardless of which OS you use.

      1. A J Stiles

        But you still miss two important things

        1. Unix-like file systems understand the concept of non-executable files. Asking a user to chmod a file to make it executable (even in the days when you can chmod a file by right-clicking on an icon and ticking a box) sounds mighty suspicious.

        Also, Linux users are taught not to download untrusted binaries. If a package isn't in your distribution's own repository, you download the Source Code and compile it.

        2. Windows trojans often convince the user that they are legitimate by mimicking the Windows UI; this behaviour is blindingly obvious when the UI being mimicked is not the machine's native one. One of my co-workers, not particularly tech-savvy (I caught him working on a spreadsheet once -- he was adding up figures with a calculator and typing them into the "total" box) actually spotted some browser-based scareware that way, and correctly reasoned that it was a scam.

    4. Stratman


      Girls, the Windows/Mac bitchfight is over there --------------->

  8. Steve Roper

    A new defence!

    So now if I do get an infringement letter I can safely ignore it, and if questioned as to why I'll just say that as far as I was concerned it was just another scam email trying to extort money. For once there's a set of cybercrooks I DON'T want to hang!

    1. David McMahon


      Er No that wont be a defence, will it?

      I do love the irony of Criminals and lawyers using a similar business model to get money out of people downloading more bloody top 40!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That is all.

  10. SuperTim

    Since when....

    do people actually believe pop ups? I am sure they will also tell me i have a virus and their reasonable priced software will remove it for me.

    Downloading a bittorrent with supposed copyright music on it is not illegal if the torrent is a fake. so they cant pretend to be baiting you (as that would also be entrapment).

    Still i am sure there are enough suckers out there to make this pay.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Windows runs crapware like no other

    I don't understand the argument that all OSes are vulnerable to trojans. That's like saying all cars are vulnerable to breaking down. IT COMPLETELY MISSES THE POINT. Some breakdown more than others.

    When it comes to malware, Windows leads by a mile! The sophistication, usability and feature-richness is unmatched by any other platform.

    I can understand the argument re: market share. However, I think both market share, and easy of r00ting are both at play. Linux/Mac are a more difficult nut to crack. If you were a hacker, go for the easy work/maximum return combination. Why make life difficult for yourself?

    May be just my experience, but all my Mac/Buntu using relatives don't have a problem with malware. It's only the Windows users that keep coming to me for help in cleaning out their infested PCs.

    As for believing "users shouldn't believe pop-ups", are you serious? As soon as you start a new windows machine you are conditioned to accept pop-ups for all kinds of crapware AV/CD_Writing/InternetAccess/SupplierSupport.

    Let's face it, if you value your privacy/security you shouldn't use Windows. Period.

    Doing so is akin to sending your kids to a catholic monastry for a good educasion!

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