A mass-mailing virus designed to wipe Romanian gypsy music off PCs is spreading rapidly across the east European country. The virus, dubbed Antiman-A, uses a recent story about the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists - abducted by a little-known terrorist Iraqi group approximately a month ago - to trap curious punters.
The subject line of the infected message is in Romanian and varies from: "Voteaza azi!" ("Vote today"), "Antivirus", "Antimanele" ("Against Gypsy music"), to "Cum a murit Papa?" ("How did the Pope die?"). The message body is also in Romanian, and typically tries to trick users into opening an infected attachment by encouraging them to tackle part in a "virtual poll" concerning the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Iraq or by posing as an anti-virus utility. Once executed, the malicious code erases all files which contain the names of well-known gypsy music singers.
The electronic version of traditional gypsy music - dubbed manele - is increasingly popular in Romania but the genre also has its detractors who have praised the virus as a 'utilitarian' blessing.
Apart from an apparent abhorrence of Gipsy music, the Auntiman-A author's musical tastes remain sadly unknown. Perhaps something like Marilyn Manson might ring the bell of your average VXer, but perhaps unpleasant Canadian pomp rock is closer to the mark. After all, everybody in the IT industry loves Rush - at least according to a recent poll.
Back in Romania, meanwhile, anti-virus firm BitDefender CTO, Bogdan Dumitru, said: "The author of this piece of malware is most certainly a Romanian citizen, who has designed it in order to show his deep discontent with the ever increasing popularity of Gypsy music in Romania. Despite the fact that technically it is a very simple code, the virus is spreading at an amazing speed throughout Romania, due to the skilful social engineering tricks employed by its author."
Vali The Blizzard, a popular Manele singer, told Ananova: "I don't believe this is a threat for us. On the contrary they are doing us a favour. This way our fans will have to buy the CDs and not take the music from the internet for free." ®