Flight Simulator X third-party malware

So apparently a third-party developer for FSX had the genius idea of bundling a password-harvester with its aircraft add-on. The malware was only supposed to activate when a pirated serial key was entered, but that’s small comfort to anyone who shares their PC with a gamer, e.g. parents.

Full story:

A bit of chat over in the Civ FS thread:

eagle-eyed Reddit users

It’s funny how the reports never call it for what it is… “pirates”. The guy who found this already admitted he didn’t buy it. :P

The article and the top Reddit post both explicitly point out the piracy connection. And while the person who found the malware may be a pirate, it’s clearly something that can affect non-pirates as well if they share a machine with a pirate.

But installing malware is particularly idiotic because there is no legitimate way to use the information it collects. Best case scenario for the devs is that they find the identity of the pirate and file a lawsuit. The lawyer for the defense would immediately ask, “How did you determine my client is a pirate?” “Well, your honor, we hacked into his computer.” And it’s all downhill from there.

I’m not sure it’s that clear who could or could not be affected…

According to the devs this was specifically targeted at the person cracking their software, for whom they had obtained some data (including IPs being used I believe). So they were checking against these IPs before deploying the malware, the aim being to get the logins to private websites being used by this person to disseminate keygen/fake license servers.

They were apparently successful as they posted screenshots of the sites they accessed. Not sure what they planned to do after that though. :P

So yeah maybe some unaware person sharing a machine with this one particular cracker they were targeting would be affected, but no-one else. It wasn’t some ‘harvest personal data from all pirates to enable lawsuits’ scheme.

Of course, this is all according to the devs after they got caught… :)

What difference would that have made? Well I guess it would have made people more sympathetic to software pirates. So I guess it’s a good thing they didn’t, right?

This is so pathetic that I feel this lame comment is constructive.