Mac OS game deletes files

October 30, 2009 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #anti-virus #game #loselose #mac-malware #mac-os #mac-os-x #mac-virus #malware #space-invaders #virus #zach-gage

A new Mac OS package which deletes user files has been added to the detection systems of many anti-virus programs, but there remains some controversy as to whether it represents malware at all.

The software in question is Lose/Lose, a game created by artist Zach Gage - described by iTWire as a "Space Invaders inspired game" created as part of an on-line art exhibition. However, this particular package has a twist which has brought it to the attention of anti-virus developers.

Rather than blasting harmlessly away at pixellated aliens, each enemy character represents a file located somewhere in the system - and when an alien is killed, the related file gets permanently deleted. While pacifism is an option - and the only way to get out of losing files - losing your life in the game results in Lose/Lose itself being erased.

Despite the clear warning on Zach's site which alerts people to the fact that files are going to be lost, anti-virus companies are classing the file as a malicious Trojan and updating their detection appropriately.

Gage describes the project as a method of "exploring what it means to kill in a video-game" as well as investigating "at what point [...] our virtual data become[s] as important to us as physical possessions," and asks of gamers "why do we assume that because we are given a weapon an[d] awarded for using it, that doing so is right?"

Despite the clear downside to playing Lose/Lose - and the difficulty of doing so should your anti-virus package keep un-installing it - the on-line high score table features users such as arvenus and BlueHawk who have both killed almost 5,000 enemies - with the corresponding loss of almost 5,000 files from their Mac OS X installation.

The big question: is it art, or is it malware? Have your say over in the forums.

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