Entertainment Hotspots Often Host Viruses

Hackers are taking advantage of popular entertainment hotspots for movies and music to attack personal computers and spread viruses. A brief news alert about this was published by Reuters yesterday and picked up by C-Net News.

Ang Lee, who won the best director Oscar in 2005 for his cowboy drama, Brokeback Mountain, won the Venice Film Festival’s top award, the Golden Lion, earlier this year for his latest release, Lust, Caution. The movie has been a big hit in China, reaping more than $12 million in its first two weeks.

Unfortunately, an unknown number of movie fans got a nasty surprise when they visited an entertainment hotspot to download a copy of the movie. About 15% of the sites had been hacked, and were downloading a nasty surprise payload in addition to the movie. Stolen passwords and virus transmissions affected visitors to 15% of the download sites.

The lesson we’ve learned? Free isn’t always without cost. Beware heavily trafficked entertainment and social sites, especially those offering free downloads. And keep your anti-virus and anti-scumware up-to-date and operating in real time, not just upon command. Most people have their anti-virus constantly scanning in the background, but operate their anti-spyware manually and only periodically. Now more than ever this software must maintain a constant vigil.

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