Shrek virus - genuine malware or publicity stunt? Sophos comments

IT security and data protection firm Sophos has questioned these claims following a pressrelease issued by the claiming that a "Shrek" virus has breached their system
graham cluley, senior technology consultant, sophos
graham cluley, senior technology consultant, sophos
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* Sophos

* Computers

* Dubai - United Arab Emirates

June 21, 2011 - PRLog -- Dubai, UAE, June 21, 2011:, the dating website that only accepts members who pass an attractiveness rating, is claiming that it has been hit by a computer virus.  IT security and data protection firm Sophos has questioned these claims following a press release issued by the website, claiming that a "Shrek" virus made it possible for "30,000 'ugly' people" to join the site, without going through the usual attractiveness approval process.

Greg Hodge, MD of BeautifulPeople said the following in the press release:

"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting."

"We responded immediately, repairing the damage from the 'Shrek Virus' and putting every new member back into the rating module for a legitimate and democratic vote. The result is that we have lost over 30,000 recent members.

"We have sincere regret for the unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and who   believed, albeit for a short while, that they were beautiful. It must be a bitter pill to swallow, but   better to have had a slice of heaven then never to have tasted it at all."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, questions why the website hasn't needed to inform any security firms about the malware, and raises an eyebrow at the reassurances that members' privacy and security was never breached.

"BeautifulPeople announced that a former employee placed the malware before leaving the team. It just all seems a little too convenient that this 'malware' has generated a huge amount of publicity for the site, without causing any trouble for current or future members," commented Cluley.  "If BeautifulPeople's story about a Shrek virus is true, I'm the spitting image of Brad Pitt.  The firm has conducted impressive publicity stunts in the past, and this is just the latest - dreamt up against a backdrop of newspaper headlines about big companies facing genuine security breaches."

More information on this story can be found in Cluley's article here:

Graham Cluley is available for comment at +44 (0)1235 544114 or +44 (0)7990 552181

Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter:

About Sophos
More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing security and data protection solutions that are simple to manage, deploy and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, and network access control solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers. With more than two decades of experience, Sophos is regarded as a leader in security and data protection by top analyst firms and has received many industry awards.  Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK.

Middle East Contacts:
Dr. Kamel Heus
Managing Director, MEA
Sophos Middle East
+971 4375 4332
Nirmala D’souza
PR Consultant
OAK Consulting

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