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Terrorist Threats Were Just the Beginning: Now The Interview can Infect Your PC

2015-01-13

The question of who hacked Sony Pictures has already become a more exciting and suspenseful drama than the movie that supposedly caused the tumult in the first place: The Interview. Despite terrorist threats of retaliation for the movie’s portrayal of North Korea, Sony eventually decided to release The Interview for online rental and purchase. YouTube, Xbox Video, and Google Play are just some of the platforms that can currently stream The Interview. As of the time of this writing, it’s even the most popular movie on YouTube.


The controversial movie has already made over 31 million USD at the box office, giving Sony some much-needed relief and assuaging fears that they wouldn’t be able to recoup their costs. But the online release of the movie also had the unfortunate downside of making it available on pirate websites faster than ever – and where there are pirates, there are usually viruses. 


Baidu Antivirus Security Center has discovered that there are already lots of online honeypots using the name "The Interview" to spread malware. People who search for terms like "the interview torrent" might be lured to torrent websites where a torrent link for The Interview is actually a malicious ad downloader. After users unsuspectingly run the file on their computers, they will become infected with lots of adware, and their browser homepages could be tampered with.


According to Baidu Antivirus security experts, fake The Interview sites usually provide a seed file in .exe format, such as "The Interview 2014 720p MP4.exe". The normal file extension for a seed is .torrent. After users are infected through one of these programs, their computer homepages will be maliciously modified (e.g. to websearch.searchfix.info). At the same time, adware programs such as Adware.Win32.MultiPlug.Gen and PUP.Win32.DeltaFix.GEN will be installed on their computer. These programs will frequently harass users with annoying pop-up ads and may even enable users' private information to be illegally accessed by cybercriminals.


Infected users can download the latest version of Baidu Antivirus in order to remove this type of adware. Baidu Antivirus comes with a smart cloud antivirus engine that can help detect and remove this and other similar threats.


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