Posted on June 16, 2005

Anti Gypsy-Music Virus Welcomed by Victims

Munir Kotadia, ZDNet Australia, June 10

Romanian security firm BitDefender has revealed that after releasing signatures to protect its customers from a virus that deleted files from their computers containing gypsy music, it was inundated with letters of complaint from customers who wanted the virus to spread.

The virus, dubbed Antiman.A, was discovered at the end of April and duped users into executing its payload by pretending to contain news about three Romanian journalists that had been kidnapped. When run, the virus searched the victim’s computer for files containing the names of Romanian gypsy music singers.

At the time, BitDefender’s chief technology officer Bogdan Dumitru said the virus writer was obviously a Romanian citizen that had “deep discontent” with gypsy music in Romania.

A Bitdefender spokesperson told ZDNet Australia that it released signature files to protect customers within hours of discovering the virus but instead of praise, the company started receiving e-mails from users that thought the virus was ‘socially useful’ and should be allowed to thrive.

One customer, whose details have withheld, said: “I appreciate your rapid reaction when new viruses are released . . . Nevertheless, when socially useful viruses are released, I think you could wait at least one day . . . This is not a virus, this is a utilitarian tool”. The message concluded: “If you know the author of this virus, please give him my e-mail address; I’m ready to offer him food and drinks for at least 2 weeks”.

Another customer was also hoping detection signatures were delayed but he went on to wish for a variant that could attack legacy systems: “Couldn’t you guys wait two or three more days, until my whole neighbourhood was infected? Is there a version of this virus that can erase the cassettes played in cars that are stopped in traffic?”

Last word went to a BitDefender customer that offered to keep the antivirus labs staff busy to try give the virus more time to spread: “I would have gotten all of you drunk just to make sure you didn’t get the [detection] tool out . . . god bless the guy who created this virus.”