'Art project' video game attacks Apple Mac machines

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
A 1980s-style video game attacks the Mac platform, deleting users' files as they progress through the level and shoot enemies. While its creator clearly warns of the consequences, the software has been labeled a Trojan horse.



The software created by Zach Gage is described as an "art project." The "game" generates aliens based on the number of files on a user's computer, and killing them deletes a file. Upon the player's death the game is supposed to delete itself. It includes an online raking of players' scores.



"By way of exploring what it means to kill in a video-game, Lose/Lose broaches bigger questions," the project's creator said. "As technology grows, our understanding of it diminishes, yet, at the same time, it becomes increasingly important in our lives. At what point does our virtual data become as important to us as physical possessions? If we have reached that point already, what real objects do we value less than our data? What implications does trusting something so important to something we understand so poorly have?"



While Gage sees his project as art, Symantec views it as a Trojan, though "Lose/Lose" is not seen as a great threat at the moment. The malware's creator even warns on his Web site what the application does, and upon starting the game, players are also cautioned that it will result in the deletion of files from their computer.



But the security firm cautioned that the threat, called OSX.Loosemaque, could be modified by someone with "more malicious intentions" and passed on to unsuspecting users without the current warnings.



In a video demonstrating the Trojan, Symantec showed how the game begins to delete files on the system as aliens are killed, in a top-down shooter designed in the style of classics like Galaga. After a number of aliens were killed, the program attempted to delete a critical system file, which caused the malware to crash.



"You'll notice that while I'm blowing up the ships, the files in my Documents folder are disappearing," the video states. "It looks like the game chooses users' documents first, and then it moves on to preference files contained within the very subfolders of the user's home directory."



Cult of Mac noted that the game has also been defined as a threat by Sophos Anti-Virus and Intego VirusBarrier X5. The software was first released in September.







Viruses on the Mac platform remain scarce, but with the recent release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple included enhanced malware protection.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    Too funny. This is sure to give some other people some great ideas on how to write something more dangerous than this program. What a great front, a game that deletes files.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    Though I feel sorry for anyone who accidentally downloads this unknowing of its design, the questions it poses as a whole are pretty interesting, in my opinion. I like the concept, I just would never download it.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    Finally, a game that doesn't reward you for killing! Even better, one that inflicts damage onto you! I love this idea since so many video games that have simulated killing make said killing so detached from reality. In Halo, does one ever consider the family of the little guys your character kills when you press the button?

    (Although, I do not believe video games lead all their players to be killers... although they do help those who were on the way and can't disconnect virtual from reality)



    Soap box aside: I would not label this as a Trojan. You are in full knowledge that your files will disappear! That, and you have to download it.





    Now please, no MS comments, okay? This has nothing to do with that company. Focus on the art project, as I think its a really interesting concept!
  • Reply 4 of 67
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    It's not really any more dangerous than any of the programs that have built-in scripting. In Maya for example you get file access from scripts so you can be downloading a script that says it generates trees and then it can create a tree that looks like your folder structure and then erase that folder structure. It could also be justified by pretentious 'artists' by asking whether it's more important to create a lovely tree or make sure you don't lose all the rest of your work. Even Snow Leopard makes you choose between having guests and losing everything - which is more important to you? The worst thing you can really do is give these people any recognition because the recognition alone they use to justify it as art when in fact it's just really annoying.



    I wish we lived in times when artists felt they had to actually do something meaningful to earn their title as an artist like sculpt a statute or paint a chapel somewhere. Nowadays, they just defecate on things (literally sometimes) shove it in a gallery and wait for the outrage and then go 'see, it's art because you're pissed off. Wow, I'm so talented'.



    My idea for a game is to have these people hurled over a shooting range and the shooter must decide between killing them and the possibility of losing the benefits they've made to society from their work. I think this whole situation would be resolved pretty quickly.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    Just to pre-empt the certain-to-appear 'OMG MAC TROJON!!!1' responses, this does not appear to be based on any sort of exploit. Programs are fully capable of managing your user files on any OS. This is how they are able to save, move, and delete files based on your actions. This program simply chooses to delete those unprotected files. Now, if it were able to delete the password-protected system files, that would be another story.



    Still, that was an interesting video. Odd idea, and sure to generate some publicity.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    See what happens when you gain market share?
  • Reply 7 of 67
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    My kids will absolutely love playing this game!



    When does art become crime, by the way?
  • Reply 8 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I wish we lived in times when artists felt they had to actually do something meaningful to earn their title as an artist like sculpt a statute or paint a chapel somewhere. Nowadays, they just defecate on things (literally sometimes) shove it in a gallery and wait for the outrage and then go 'see, it's art because you're pissed off. Wow, I'm so talented'.



    My idea for a game is to have these people hurled over a shooting range and the shooter must decide between killing them and the possibility of losing the benefits they've made to society from their work. I think this whole situation would be resolved pretty quickly.



    Prompt One: Post a piece of artistic work you have created. (It must have meaning to you, and invigorate emotion in others)

    (Me personally, I'm no artist, far from, but I can still appreciate it, even if it is just a single dot on a large canvas. Doesn't mean I like it though.)



    Second: I suggest you ban yourself for delivering such hateful words that imply death to people for no other reason than for a creative works that does not conform to your own sense of style. Comments like these are exactly what my post was about. Detachment. I do not tolerate comments like this.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A 1980s-style video game attacks the Mac platform, deleting users' files as they progress through the level and shoot enemies. While its creator clearly warns of the consequences, the software has been labeled a Trojan horse. ...



    I think it's hilarious, and yes ... Art.



    No need for quotes.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    Second: I suggest you ban yourself for delivering such hateful words that imply death to people for no other reason than for a creative works that does not conform to your own sense of style. Comments like these are exactly what my post was about. Detachment. I do not tolerate comments like this.



    I believe you took him a little too seriously.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    what's next? the empty trash command from the dock will be labeled a trojan horse as well? give me a break
  • Reply 12 of 67
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    ... I wish we lived in times when artists felt they had to actually do something meaningful to earn their title as an artist like sculpt a statute or paint a chapel somewhere. Nowadays, they just defecate on things (literally sometimes) shove it in a gallery and wait for the outrage and then go 'see, it's art because you're pissed off. Wow, I'm so talented'. ...



    IMO you are mixing up your definitions here. Art is about meaning.



    You say you wish they did something more meaningful, but then you kind of imply that it's the "talent" they show (or don't show), that's the core of it all, which is really code for "craft." Craftsmanship /= "Art".
  • Reply 13 of 67
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    Prompt One: Post a piece of artistic work you have created. (It must have meaning to you, and invigorate emotion in others)



    My previous post satisfies those requirements.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    Second: I suggest you ban yourself for delivering such hateful words that imply death to people for no other reason than for a creative works that does not conform to your own sense of style. Comments like these are exactly what my post was about. Detachment. I do not tolerate comments like this.



    I take it you are someone who thinks that art has no definition other than the definition you impose on it. By that standard everything is art and I suggest that by that definition, nothing is.



    I don't care for an opinion that degrades the standards and quality of the creative industry. I find it an insult to know very hard working and talented artists who have studied and learned their craft for years and someone makes programs that deletes files and that they are even discussed for a second in any capacity other than ridicule.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I take it you are someone who thinks that art has no definition other than the definition you impose on it. By that standard everything is art and I suggest that by that definition, nothing is.



    I am someone who thinks that art is defined by the creator or by the viewer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I don't care for an opinion that degrades the standards and quality of the creative industry. I find it an insult to know very hard working and talented artists who have studied and learned their craft for years and someone makes programs that deletes files and that they are even discussed for a second in any capacity other than ridicule.



    That is no excuse for wanting to shoot them! That was my main problem, your wishes of death of another person purely for having different views. I disagree with you, but I don't want you dead, and I think your differing opinion adds value to a discussion.



    There are hard working artists out there, (my mother being one, who went to school and has an art degree, and uses it daily to put food on her table. I technically have an art degree too, though I don't use it.) and I think they don't get enough credit, that I'll agree on. But the person who made this program (and programming can be an art, ask a dev!) has files delete when you kill as a representation of something, in their words, to show our dependence on the virtual world. To me this is most definitely art. Now, if it was intended as such, I don't know for sure, but I do know that I view it as art, and though I don't think I'll see it in any museum ever, I can appreciate the message.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    Quote:

    My idea for a game is to have these people hurled over a shooting range and the shooter must decide between killing them and the possibility of losing the benefits they've made to society from their work. I think this whole situation would be resolved pretty quickly.



    Amen.



    *Loads his gun.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    This is not ART. I understand that this kid is trying to make a statement but I think we all know very well how important bits and bytes have become. Putting meaning and value behind paper money (not backed by gold) equals about the same thing if not slightly less moronic. Nothing new to learn here.



    I hate smart asses and clearly this "artist" is just a smart ass. He knows nothing anyone with any reasonable level of intelligence isn't already aware of. Move on and preach to another choir. Funny ha ha until some idiot gets their hands on the game and sends it to another idiot who actually installs it.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    Who in their right mind would read that, say "Oh, that sounds like fun" and try that game out!? That sounds like "SAW VIII: The Dawn of the Stupid".
  • Reply 18 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post


    Amen.



    *Loads his gun.



    Lemon Bon Bon.



    As someone who works with death every day... I really don't find this funny.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    This game shows a serious weakness, that a program can read, upload, delete or alter files to which it has no right to access.



    What's equally stupid of Apple is giving application installers sudo root authority. That's why trojans are so successful on Macs.



    Only system level altering programs should have sudo access and OS X should warn users a program is accessing a file outside it's own file types/association.



    Here's a nice sample list of rootkits for OS X just itching to get in.



    55808Trojan-VariantA

    ADMWorm

    AjaKitRootkit

    aPaKit

    ApacheWorm

    Ambient(ark)Rootkit

    BalaurRootkit

    BeastKitRootkit

    beX2Rootkit

    BOBKitRootkit

    CiNIKWorm(Slapper.Bvariant)

    Danny-Boy'sAbuseKit

    DevilRootKit

    Dica-KitRootkit

    DreamsRootkit

    DuarawkzRootkit

    EnyeLKM

    FleaLinuxRootkit

    FreeBSDRootkit

    Fuck`itRootkit

    GasKitRootkit

    HeroinLKM

    HjCKit

    ignoKitRootkit

    ImperalsS-FBRKRootkit

    IrixRootkit

    KitkoRootkit

    KnarkRootkit

    Li0nWorm

    Lockit/LJK2Rootkit

    Mood-NTRootkit

    MRKRootkit

    Ni0Rootkit

    OhharaRootkit

    OpticKit(Tux)Worm

    OzRootkit

    PhalanxRootkit

    PortaceloRootkit

    R3dstormToolkit

    RH-Sharpe'sRootkit

    RSHA'sRootkit

    ScalperWorm

    SebekLKM

    ShutdownRootkit

    SHV4Rootkit

    SHV5Rootkit

    SinRootkit

    SlapperWorm

    SneakinRootkit

    SuckitRootkit

    SunOSRootkit

    SunOS/NSDAPRootkit

    SuperkitRootkit

    TBD(TelnetBackDoor)

    TeLeKiTRootkit

    T0rnRootkit

    TrojanitKit

    TuxtendoRootkit

    URKRootkit

    VcKitRootkit

    VolcRootkit

    X-OrgSunOSRootkit

    zaRwT.KiTRootkit
  • Reply 20 of 67
    One of course, has to run the infected installer. But yes, it is a weakness. Most people just do the whole install thing because they think they are protected on a Mac.



    I think the same goes for Linux too... though I don't know if their installers are sandboxed or not.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    What's equally stupid of Apple is giving application installers sudo root authority. That's why trojans are so successful on Macs.



    Here's a nice sample list of rootkits for OS X just itching to get in.



    55808Trojan-VariantA

    ADMWorm

    AjaKitRootkit

    aPaKit

    ApacheWorm

    Ambient(ark)Rootkit

    BalaurRootkit

    BeastKitRootkit

    beX2Rootkit

    BOBKitRootkit

    CiNIKWorm(Slapper.Bvariant)

    Danny-Boy'sAbuseKit

    DevilRootKit

    Dica-KitRootkit

    DreamsRootkit

    DuarawkzRootkit

    EnyeLKM

    FleaLinuxRootkit

    FreeBSDRootkit

    Fuck`itRootkit

    GasKitRootkit

    HeroinLKM

    HjCKit

    ignoKitRootkit

    ImperalsS-FBRKRootkit

    IrixRootkit

    KitkoRootkit

    KnarkRootkit

    Li0nWorm

    Lockit/LJK2Rootkit

    Mood-NTRootkit

    MRKRootkit

    Ni0Rootkit

    OhharaRootkit

    OpticKit(Tux)Worm

    OzRootkit

    PhalanxRootkit

    PortaceloRootkit

    R3dstormToolkit

    RH-Sharpe'sRootkit

    RSHA'sRootkit

    ScalperWorm

    SebekLKM

    ShutdownRootkit

    SHV4Rootkit

    SHV5Rootkit

    SinRootkit

    SlapperWorm

    SneakinRootkit

    SuckitRootkit

    SunOSRootkit

    SunOS/NSDAPRootkit

    SuperkitRootkit

    TBD(TelnetBackDoor)

    TeLeKiTRootkit

    T0rnRootkit

    TrojanitKit

    TuxtendoRootkit

    URKRootkit

    VcKitRootkit

    VolcRootkit

    X-OrgSunOSRootkit

    zaRwT.KiTRootkit



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