Anti-piracy vigilantes track file sharers

Friday, 19 March 2004, 10:40 AM EST

A pair of coders nurturing a deep antipathy for software pirates set off a controversy Thursday when they went public with a months-old experiment to trick file sharers into running a Trojan horse program that chastises users and reports back to a central server.

As of Thursday, the crime-busting duo's server had logged over 12,000 victims of "Walk the Plank," and a sequel they call "Dust Bunny," since the cyber sting secretly launched in January. The programs have circulated disguised as activation key generators and cracks for Unreal Tournament 2004, Pinnacle Studio 9, Norton Antivirus, TurboTax, and as a copy of the leaked Microsoft source code -- all titles chosen for their popularity on peer-to-peer networks. When executed, a large message appears scolding, "Bad Pirate!"

By Kevin Poulsen at SecurityFocus.

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