Threats targeting the Macintosh platform are much less common than those targeting Windows. The same can be said about video games, where Windows is the dominate platform of the two. Combining games and malware has happened before, but a Mac game performing malicious activities? That’s something relatively new.
Takashi Katsuki, one of our Tokyo engineers, came across just that today. The game looks to be a throw-back to the classic Space Invaders/Galaga style of games from the early 1980s. However, what brings this game into the realm of malicious code is that for every alien ship you destroy, the game deletes a file from your home directory.
What’s interesting is that the author of this “game” flat-out says what it does on his Web site. Reading through the author’s description, it seems that he has created this game/threat as some sort of artistic project. The aliens are your files and there are consequences for “killing” them. However, if you die, the game is supposed to delete itself. Each file of your home directory appears only once, and the author seems to suggest that not destroying any ships may end up with positive consequences. (We were unable to discover if this was the case, as the game crashes before reaching the end.)
While interesting in its own right, there’s nothing stopping someone with more malicious intentions from modifying it slightly and then passing it on to unsuspecting users, causing significant damage to a computer. As a result, we’re detecting this threat as OSX.Loosemaque.