Downloading is Wrong, Says Trojan Virus
According to TorrentFreak, a Trojan virus was found masquerading as a serial key generator on popular BitTorrent search engines last week. While viruses and spyware contained within pirated software is commonplace on the Internet, what makes this case especially interesting is what this Trojan virus actually did to the affected system.
The trojan virus in question will rewrite the user’s host file to block access to websites The Pirate Bay and Mininova. This is done by writing the redirect IP 127.0.0.1 to those two URLs within the host file. Whenever the user attempts to connect to said websites, they will receive a failure to connect notice. The writers of the virus went a step further and designed the virus to play an audio file that said, “Downloading is Wrong” when the host computer fails to connect.
This infected torrent file has since been removed from The Pirate Bay, and users have resumed their normal downloading habits. This is the first time we have seen an included trojan virus target those that pirate software, and was not intended to benefit the writer of the virus through key logging or spam. Consequences of the infection is also relatively low, and can be easily removed by most anti-virus software.
The anti-virus company, Sophos, has identified the virus in question to be Troj/Qhost-AC. This virus was first detected on January 2, 2009 and has a relatively low infection ranking. The other interesting piece of information is that the Trojan virus only affects Windows-based machines at the moment; those running alternative operating systems such as OS X or Linux are safe.
TorrentFreaks has a guide on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of torrent downloading that provides a glimpse into the dark-side of piracy. With software piracy running rampant in today’s Internet culture, it is often easy to forget that there are also harmful consequences to downloading software besides those that affect the developers.
As of press time, no hacker group has come forward to claim responsibility for this virus. Forums and comments in various places by conspiracy theorists have ranged from the start of an offensive by the RIAA, to Mac/Linux users playing a prank on Windows users. We feel that those theories are rather unrealistic, and is more likely the simple work of amateur hackers and pranksters.