Mac users warned over file-munching Space Invaders

Art project with serious consequences labelled a security threat for Mac owners

Stewart Mitchell
4 Nov 2009

Security experts are warning Mac users over a Space Invaders-style game that deletes files from the computer while they play.

Dubbed OSX.Loosemaque, the program only works on its host website, but has the capacity to cause serious damage if it gets into the wrong hands.

“The game looks to be a throw-back to the classic Space Invaders/Galaga style of games from the early 1980s,” says security company Symantec, which discovered the threat. “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.”

Bizarrely, the author of the game explains the consequences on his site, which observers believe is a strange art project. The website carrying the game describes it as, "a game about choice and consequence, and by extension what it means to succeed or fail".

According to Symantec, although the game is not a major threat, it could be modified to create a more sinister form of malware.

“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,” the company says.

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