Pervert Hackers: New Computer Virus Downloads Child Porn To Unsuspecting Users

18 Nov

My friends, the internet is a pretty wild place. I should know; most of my waking hours are spent online, jacked in, cyber-surfing the Information Superhighway. Now how’s that for Every 90s Internet Cliche in one sentence?

I’ve written before about the value of the internet as a research tool – a font of knowledge both useful and useless. I’ve written about the democracy of the invention and how important it is to the proliferation of information worldwide. I’ve also written about how dangerous the internet can be, but until now I’ve only talked about the dangers inherent to users who are children or else are socially inept.

But what about folks like you and me, people who check their emails and look up funny websites and generally surf in an everyday, pedestrian, average way? We’re all grown-ups. We know better than to start looking up creepy pornography or blueprints for homemade bombs or shifty stuff like that, so as long as we maintain a standard anti-spyware scan schedule, we should be okay, right?

Apparently not.

This just in, ladies and gentlemen – not content with polluting their own hard drives and kharma banks with their disgusting kiddie porn, the perverts of the world have decided to share it with you, their cyber-neighbours. Thanks to a new breed of super-data-virus, the hard drives of average internet users can now become unwitting host to the lowest and most depraved of what disturbed human minds can envision.

According to an article put up by the CBC,

Pedophiles can exploit virus-infected PCs to remotely store and view their stash without fear they’ll get caught. Pranksters or someone trying to frame you can tap viruses to make it appear that you surf illegal websites. Whatever the motivation, you get child porn on your computer — and might not realize it until police knock at your door.”

Okay, if you folks can just hold on a minute, I have to run a virus scan on my trusty laptop. I’ll be right back.

Whew. Came up negative. I haven’t been this happy about a negative virus result since the night Jim and I spent in Jakarta drinking absinthe with the proprietor of the Grand cinema – things got a little crazy, and the sigh of relief I breathed upon receiving Little Alex’s clean bill of health was comparable to the one I breathed just now, secure in my knowledge that no mob of angry parents is likely to storm the Compound screaming for my blood anytime soon.

But it doesn’t mean I’m not still culpable. I have recurring nightmares that involve my family and friends going onto my computer after my death and finding all sorts of questionable material (that isn’t actually there in reality) that colours their postmortem perceptions of me in a somewhat negative way. It’s the old adage about wearing clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus, only more embarrassing. Imagine what would happen if Death finally caught up with me and when my parents searched my hard drive for banking information or whatever, they found a cadre of kiddie porn. I know if I found something like that on a friend’s computer, my perception of them would be shot for good; even if it came out later that a virus had done the morally-bereft legwork, I don’t think I could ever look at that person the same way again. You can bounce back from a lot of accusations (murder, extortion, assault), but paedophilia is a hard label to escape.

Take the case of Eric Nagler. Canadians of my age bracket will remember this guy as a popular children’s entertainer whose career spanned a good thirty years, culminating in his recurring role on “The Elephant Show”. Nagler was a talented musician with a genuine desire to provide quality entertainment to kids everywhere, and he was great at his job. In the early 90s, he was charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl who was attached to his show, which immediately went off-the-air. Though he was exonerated early on (the prosecution backed down when polygraph tests and psychological examinations provided evidence of his innocence), his career was left, to put it lightly, in shambles. In his own words,

“My whole world turned upside-down. And my career just stopped–stopped dead in the water.”

He’s lucky that’s all that happened. Fortunately for him, he received unprecedented support from his fan base that helped rekindle his work in the field, but it could have been much worse. I think it’s fair to say that people of all stripes are united in their hatred for people who sexually assault children – even in jail, convicted paedophilic sex offenders have to be put in solitary confinement. In the regular prison community, their life expectancy would be measured in a handful of extremely unpleasant minutes, if that.

I think it’s a gut reaction on the part of most people, which is what makes this new strain of computer virus so potentially destructive. It’s one thing to have someone steal your credit card or even your whole identity – it’s a pain in the ass and can be a financial disaster (I know from experience), but at least people aren’t lining up outside your house with a length of rope, making eyes at nearby tall trees.

Consider Michael Fiora, a worker’s comp investigator based in Massachusetts who fell victim to one of these paedoviruses. When a technician found the treasure trove of degenerate JPGs on Fiora’s work computer, he was immediately fired and reported to the authorities, who charged him with possession of child porn. In the ensuing eleven months, he was the victim of death threats, vandalism and social ostracism including his family and friends. After spending a quarter-million dollars in legal fees, he finally discovered a virus had programmed his browser to visit forty kiddie porn sites per minute, obviously not something even the most dedicated paedophile could accomplish. Fiora was cleared of the charges, but now he’s faced with the almost-insurmountable task of putting his life back together – socially, emotionally and fiscally.

It’s almost impossible to convince anyone of your innocence when the horrifying evidence is right there in digital format. Phil Malone, director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, equates it to the schoolboy “dog ate my homework” excuse – only sometimes, he says, the dog really did eat your homework. But good luck making the teacher believe you.

That aside, I think the part that scares me the most about these viruses is that whoever is crafting them hasn’t taken into consideration the kind of damage they can do to people. You want to design a worm that reformats someone’s computer the minute they open Solitaire? Well, you’re kind of a dick. You want to build a Trojan that destroys Twitter? I’ll just about stand up and salute you. But you create a virus that downloads illegal, morally reprehensible material to an unsuspecting user – that’s beyond the pale. If you want to be that sadistic, why not go work for Microsoft? I hear too many people are happy with Windows 7 – maybe you could use your considerable talents to help them bugger up the next version.

Don’t you people have anything better to do with your time, or for that matter, with the internet as a tool? Look at me, for example. I’m a smart guy; with a little training I could probably spend my time figuring out how to develop software that would bring about Armageddon in the virtual space clogged up by World of Warcraft. But I don’t. Instead, I write a blog that attempts, on its good days, to provide some kind of intelligent social commentary and incite genuine debate among the equally smart people who constitute my readership. I even try to send you folks to other fun places online (that hopefully aren’t contaminated with scary superviruses) despite my ego telling me you should be coming to SOA exclusively. And guess what – it pays off.

I wrote an article a while ago that included a link to this cute website I found called Stuff Ad People Like. I didn’t think much of it at the time; it was just one of those things I occasionally like to do for you people. Well, it turns out the founders of the site are hosting an industry event in the general area of the Compound they’re calling “Sync Night” to promote a new website they’re helping to launch called “Hook.tv”, which I guess is some kind of music site. So I get this email thanking me for “promoting” their page (which wasn’t really my intent) and inviting me to this shindig. Cool, right? You put good stuff in, you get good stuff out. I spend my time building viruses, I get arrested and possibly beaten by my victims. I spend my time contributing to the online community, I get invited to parties. You do the math.

Incidentally, it’s been made clear to me that if you RSVP, this is an open-to-the-public night, so if you’re a reader who has any interest in meeting the genius/legend that is Alex JamesTM, and you live in the area, you ought to come out – because I’ll definitely be there.   Oh, and Jim might make an appearance too.  Maybe.  You never can tell with that guy.

But as regards this article, what’s my point?

Help, don’t hinder.

Why spend your time being a jackass when you could be doing something worthwhile? Why drag good people’s names through the mud when you could be promoting your own? Quit polluting the internet with your bullshit and start doing something positive with your time.

5 Responses to “Pervert Hackers: New Computer Virus Downloads Child Porn To Unsuspecting Users”

  1. Shayla November 18, 2009 at 8:07 PM #

    Wow, that guy Fiora must have a really secure marriage. I don’t know how many wives would stay with their husbands if there was evidence of them being paedophiles.

    Which leads me to an interesting point that I’ve been meaning to write an article on: psychiatrists say that forming healthy, adult relationships (in which they can be COMPLETELY honest about their disorder), with people who do NOT want children, is important for paedophiles who want to control their urges and live normal lives. That’s all well and good, but ask yourself: would YOU date someone who openly admitted being attracted to children? How is this supposed to work?

  2. ginocolada November 27, 2009 at 10:01 AM #

    The human biological phenomena of commercial relevant content is the most powerful and sustained system of propaganda in human history and its cumulative cultural effects, unless quickly checked, will be responsible for destroying the world as we know it.

    Greetingz,
    http://gino.comfortnetworks.nl

  3. mlhradio April 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

    Hello Jim Fairthorne,

    I was rather “amused” to see you chose to use my image (http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthigh/2772052540/) without proper attribution, as required under the Creative Commons license.

    You might want to be more careful when you steal an image in the future, others may not be as forgiving.

  4. Online Porn Stash June 16, 2015 at 10:32 PM #

    Hello friends, its fantastic piece of writing on the topic
    of teachingand entirely defined, keep it up all the time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. State of Affairs Update, Featuring Stuff Ad People Like! « State of Affairs - December 7, 2009

    […] few weeks ago I mentioned I was attending an industry night in support of a website called Stuff Ad People Like, thanks to an invite from the site’s developers.  Turns out I’d inadvertently given […]

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