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Art or Virus? Symantec Villifies Spoof Apple “Trojan”

loseloseSecurity firm Symantec is warning computer users about a new Mac-specific Trojan that deletes files on the user’s hard drive, according to It has dubbed the piece of malware “OSX.Loosemaque,” and uploaded a YouTube video of how it goes about its nefarious purpose.

Basically, it’s a Space Invader clone wherein when you kill an alien, a file in your home folder is deleted. It looks like it’s evil — and designed to perform such a task without the knowledge of the Mac owner on which the program resides. But it isn’t. It’s an art project that clearly advertises its purpose and nature to all who would wish to use it.

The game, dubbed Lose/Lose, is the brainchild of Zach Gage, who created the program as part of an online art installation and released it for public download in September. It’s intended purpose is not to dupe unsuspecting gamers, but to pose questions about the relationship between killing in video games and real-life moral issues. Gage says as much in a statement on his web site:

By way of exploring what it means to kill in a video-game, Lose/Lose broaches bigger questions. As technology grows, our understanding of it diminishes, yet, at the same time, it becomes increasingly important in our lives.

Even if a user were to download the game from a different, less well-intentioned place, the game itself warns users right when it opens, stating that “Killing in Lose/Lose will likely result in files on your hard drive being deleted. You have been warned.” Of course, that doesn’t mean that an intelligent programmer couldn’t remove or change said message, and redistribute the game themselves with the intent of causing harm.

That’s what Symantec’s worried about, and why the firm decided to issue its warning about the so-called Trojan. Of course, the company took the opportunity to recommend installing security software as a means to protect against this kind of dangerous artistic expression, seeing as that’s the business it’s in.

Should you worry about this game or threats derived from it? Not unless you are one of the slim few whose retro Mac gaming addiction is so acute that you feel the need to hunt around the digital frontier in suspicious and shady locations looking for independent games of questionable quality and without any sort of legit distribution channels. Or if you happen to be a devoted patron of the arts, and therefore can’t resist the urge to download software you know full well will harm your computer and destroy your files, all for the sake of the artistic effect it has. In either case, anti-virus software won’t help.

6 Responses to “Art or Virus? Symantec Villifies Spoof Apple “Trojan””

  1. Gazoobee


    A Trojan is not a “virus” and this is *definitely* not even a Trojan.

    Get your facts straight and stop stirring the pot. You know this is nothing of the sort, yet you post it with a headline that makes it seem like it’s a big scary deal.