Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Mac Game/Trojan Wipes a File for Each Alien Killed

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 88 comments
Tags :

A new piece of software developed by Fine Arts student Zach Gage is making waves in the security community.

As part of his Master of Fine Arts thesis project, Zach Gage wrote a game for Macs that deletes files from your machine as you play. Dubbed Lose/Lose, the title sees the player take on the role of a space captain on a "seemingly endless quest to destroy attacking aliens." Each alien is represents a file on your computer. Killing the alien means destroying that file. You have one life and if an alien touches you, you explode and the application will delete itself.

Describing the program as "a videogame with real life consequences," Zach says he tried to explore what it means to kill in a videogame. On his website, the student says that while touching the aliens will lose you the game and killing them will get you points, the aliens don't actually fire at you. "This calls into question the player's mission, which is never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics," writes Gage. "Is the player supposed to be an aggressor? Or merely an observer, traversing through a dangerous land?"

However exploratory, experimental or just interesting it seems, users are warned several times before they download and before they play that Lose/Lose will result in the permanent deletion of files from your hard drive and CNet reports that Symantec, Sophos and Intego have flagged the application as malware, with each of them calling the "Trojan" OSX.Loosemaque, OSX/LoseGame-A and OSX/LoserGame, respectively.

What do you think, malware or just harmful game? Let us know in the comments below!

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 49 Hide
    amplexis , November 5, 2009 11:48 AM
    Wait a second let me make sure I get this correct. Someone wrote a game for a Mac?!?
  • 29 Hide
    adaman2576 , November 5, 2009 11:34 AM
    lol. I wonder if he got an A.
  • 29 Hide
    nforce4max , November 5, 2009 11:34 AM
    Enjoy mac boys and girls you are now in the club.
Other Comments
    Display all 88 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    sstym , November 5, 2009 11:31 AM
    Clearly malware. Even if you warn them beforehand, the average user is very likely to ignore the warning, in this case because it is a game.
    Try sending people low power letter bombs that will merely damage their hands, but with a red letter warning that reads "Letter Bomb, open at your own risk". Someone is bound to open the letter at some point.
    Then good luck telling the judge it was a social experiment and you gave adequate warning.
  • 29 Hide
    nforce4max , November 5, 2009 11:34 AM
    Enjoy mac boys and girls you are now in the club.
  • 29 Hide
    adaman2576 , November 5, 2009 11:34 AM
    lol. I wonder if he got an A.
  • 19 Hide
    mindless728 , November 5, 2009 11:36 AM
    wow, i suddenly want to put mac OSX in a VM and play this game, once to get points, once to see how long i can dodge the aliens until i die
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2009 11:36 AM
    What I would like to do is see if it would be possible to play without getting killed before all my files have been deleted and the OS crashes, sounds like fun to me, Brilliant piece of software really, and it is without a doubt electronic art in its purest form.

    And if you read the warnings and still play knowing full well it will delete your files then its your own fault and that is just tough luck for you.
  • 14 Hide
    SneakySnake , November 5, 2009 11:45 AM
    I tried it out on my MBP on little while ago ( I was wiping the HDD anyways). It does what he says, and its a sombering feeling knowing that the better you doing the worse off your computer/files are.
  • 49 Hide
    amplexis , November 5, 2009 11:48 AM
    Wait a second let me make sure I get this correct. Someone wrote a game for a Mac?!?
  • 23 Hide
    Transmaniacon , November 5, 2009 11:53 AM
    I bet there are plenty of Mac people out there who will disregard that warning because they think their Mac is immune to any viruses or malware...little do they know...
  • 18 Hide
    mindless728 , November 5, 2009 11:53 AM
    hey, there are plenty of games for linux, most of them open source, but we have them
  • 20 Hide
    curnel_D , November 5, 2009 11:57 AM
    sstymClearly malware. Even if you warn them beforehand, the average user is very likely to ignore the warning, in this case because it is a game. Try sending people low power letter bombs that will merely damage their hands, but with a red letter warning that reads "Letter Bomb, open at your own risk". Someone is bound to open the letter at some point.Then good luck telling the judge it was a social experiment and you gave adequate warning.

    This is an awful comparison. Think of it more like an innocent moron, walking up to someone's house, and finding a 'letter bomb' which clearly has warnings written all over it. They then take the letter bomb, bring it into their own home full of valuables, and open it just to see what's inside.

    I'd love to see someone trying to explain to a judge that they purposely downloaded a clearly marked virus, ignored their anti-malware software warnings, and deleted all their files simply because they were too ignorant to understand what "USE AT YOUR OWN RISK" means.

    How are you even accessing the internet?
  • 25 Hide
    r0x0r , November 5, 2009 11:57 AM
    At least it's not another WW2 shooter
  • 0 Hide
    sqhacker , November 5, 2009 12:01 PM
    So in my opinion i think that its not malware, thats like getting a toy with assymbly instructions, if you fail to read the instructions then you put yourself at risk of destroying the product, i say the warnings are valid and it has many applications of study and psychological advance, but thats just my opinion
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2009 12:27 PM
    @Curnel_D

    Could'nt have put it better myself.


    Another point though... Windows/Linux alternative? Sounds like fun =]
  • 12 Hide
    mwbeatty , November 5, 2009 12:27 PM
    Moricon is absolutely right. Just like with anything else in life, if you can't read the warnings, you get what you deserve.
  • -2 Hide
    mustwarnothers , November 5, 2009 12:37 PM
    homrqtThis concept is very deep if you think about it. Our brains are programmed to automatically start playing this game as a classic starshooter, and now we have to fight our impulses and think about the consequences of our actions before we actually start playing. I'll be rolling this article around in my head for a few hours now. =p


    I SORT of understand where you're coming from, but the consequences of our actions when playing video games differs extremely from the consequences of our actions in real life.

    The whole point of video games, in addition to entertainment, is that those consequences are....inconsequential. We go into them knowing we can abandon reason, morality (if we so choose) etc.

    Looking back on that one time I dressed up in a clown costume and unloaded an assault rifle at a water park, I really don't think having played this game would have made me thought about the consequences.
  • -9 Hide
    nekatreven , November 5, 2009 12:38 PM
    nforce4maxEnjoy mac boys and girls you are now in the club.


    While very funny, this isn't quite true. The game probably deletes files belonging to the user that is playing, or asks to run privileged so it can delete other files too. There is no exploit there...the user is already supposed to able to delete files they have permissions for.

    So, I agree that this should be flagged by a/v software...but I don't really think you can count this one against mac or osx. You could just as easily write a Windows game to do this.

    (and I'm usually the first in line to make fun of apple products)
  • 3 Hide
    mman74 , November 5, 2009 12:41 PM
    They got this wrong. Surely it should be if you lose a life then it deletes a file. Play this on your work computer and it will be like playing Russian Roulette.
    Gives it a Tron like feel. Lose a life - lose your life, or at least your job.
Display more comments