Harry Potter and the return of the virus

Professor Dumbledore would be furious: Harry Potter fans are letting their guard down and helping to spread a computer worm, warns security firm Sophos.

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By  Peter Branton Published  June 6, 2004

Professor Dumbledore would be furious: Harry Potter fans are letting their guard down and helping to spread a computer worm, warns security firm Sophos. The popularity of the latest film in the series – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for those of you who don’t know – has given the Netsky-P worm a new lease of life as it is capable of disguising itself as a Harry Potter computer game, Sophos claims. “Netsky-P targets young computer users by sometimes posing as content connected with the Harry Potter books and movie franchise,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “Parents need to educate their children against the threats of viruses, to ensure the popularity of Potter doesn’t cast a nasty spell on their computer systems.” Despite being first protected against in March, Netsky-P is now enjoying a new lease of life (much like Lord Voldemort of course) thanks to its Potter tie-in, with Sophos claiming it was the second most common virus reported last month, second only to Sasser. Unlike Sasser, which can infect a PC without user interaction, Netsky-P needs to tempt somebody to open the file, hence the deception. Netsky-P is not the first virus to use an association with the boy wizard to spread itself, with W32/Forlorn-D posing as a movie clip.

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