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
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