McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Apple Want to Ensure Viruses Not Limited to Smut-Centric Users; Sony-BMG Settles with Canadians

I've always hated the fact that if I want a virus quick and easy, I have to go to a porn site to get one. What's worse, though, is that 9-times-out-of-10 I have to download a grainy, 15-second video that ends just before the "release." Aside from the occasional virus, what's the point of the clip if it's not going to fully deliver, especially if I have to download about 20 of them (organized in dated folders within a hidden folder titled "porn vidz") before I even get the virus? Listen, I like the build-up too, but watching those clips is like Usual Suspects without the last 30 minutes. I want an assured climax.

Enter the big, bad boys of business. Last year, Sony-BMG made the first step toward offering free viruses. On select CDs, Sony-BMG included anti-copying DRM software that would secretly install spyware, rendering your computer susceptible to viruses and hijackings. Indeed, Sony-BMG stopped short of offering a virus itself, but its rootkit sure got the attention of the industry. Hell, because Sony-BMG didn't fully deliver, it has recently settled with an Ontario court to give $8.40, a replacement CD, and free downloads to thousands of customers who wanted to see the climax, not just the build-up. (A Quebec court has also recently approved of a class-action settlement.)

But exciting things are finally starting to shake the foundations of the industry once again.

Following Sony-BMG's lead, McDonald's and Coca-Cola in Japan were recently offering a portable MP3 player giveaway that gave away a completely FREE, totally awesome Trojan horse virus to roughly 10,000 lucky people. And all the contestants had to do was buy a large drink and submit a serial number! The MP3 players were pre-loaded with 10 free songs that would auto-load the Trojan during the sync process. Hackers, then, would receive usernames and passwords, with little-to-no effort. Of course, paradise is usually short-lived, so the giveaway is unfortunately no longer available. But it was sure beautiful while it lasted.

Of course, Apple wasn't about to fall behind on the virus game. Apparently, "a small number" of Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006 contained one of my favorite all-time viruses, the Windows RavMonE.exe Trojan. (Precisely which Trojan virus is still not clear, but any dealing with RavMonE.exe is pretty sweet.) Oddly, though, Apple has stopped shipping the iPods and are even offering instructions on how to get rid of the virus. I be like, what the fuck? Has the world gone completely mad? Despite the confusion, those who wanted a virus got their virus, even if it was just a handful of people.

So, yes, the free virus offers are still relatively scarce, but it's nice to know that corporations are keeping eyes and ears on public demands. Perhaps if more news agencies actually reported this sort of stuff, more people would know about these wonderful viruses and then everyone would be as happy as, say, homeless people who can't afford housing, or low-income families that can't afford health care, or even Iraqi civilians. Until then, TMT is going to continue fighting the good fight, for we can't live without remote access Trojans and cryptoviral extortion attacks.

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