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MusicPanel

Discovered:
June 28, 2001
Updated:
February 13, 2007 11:55:06 AM
Type:
Hoax

The following message is a hoax. This "virus" does not exist.

Sample of hoax message:

Music fans around the planet will receive a shocking surprise on their computers on American Independence Day,July 4, but only if they have downloaded unauthorised songs from Napster, Gnutella or other file swapping applications on the Internet. On that day, those who have downloaded any of 500 most popular songs planted on the Internet with an imbedded hybrid virus¹ will find their illicit music unusable and their computers frozen due to the timed release of this bomb.

MusicPanel is a new hybrid computer code that goes beyond what viruses can do and is hidden as imbedded bits of information that can not be detected by virus checkers. It affects both Macs and PCs as well as computers running Linux Unix and even Personal Digital Assistants that can download music. It¹s the answer to the sonic stealing¹ of legitimate music without payment to the creators and was developed by a group of musician-programmers to redress the grievances of recorded artists who find their music being swapped and lifted from the Internet.

The program was developed last year following a meeting of disgruntled musicians and their managers at a Fourth of July American concert where the plan was hatched to determine more than 100 of the top songs illicitly traded on the Internet through Napster. Over the US autumn school term, the program was perfected and made invisible with an increase in the number of songs to 500 that were loaded with this application before Christmas.

Placed in easily accessible computers on the Internet where unsuspecting users could obtain copies of the music, the songs play as if they are normal downloaded music but a ticking time bomb within the files has been awaiting the Independence Day when it will be full unleashed across the Internet. So for those who have used Napster since last November and a number of other file swapping protocols that have accessed the computers where the MusicPanel embedded files have resided initially or been placed into other computers once swapped, fireworks will begin.

The program is only loaded into songs that are protected by copyright and only those people who have downloaded these 500 infected songs from the computers on the Internet in which they were planted or computers that have accessed the files and allowed them to be shared by others. Those users who have the infected files will find that accessing their computers on July 4 anywhere in the world will cause a crash that will erase all music files from their computers and any file sharing or MP3 applications. Once the computer is restarted, these songs and applications will have disappeared and the computer will load a message skin¹ called MusicPanel that will warn them off accessing unauthorised music in the future.

In a statement of intent, the producers of MusicPanel explain, ³As creators of music, we are deprived of income from our music by those companies that proliferate free file-swapping of songs and the users who blithely shoplift songs via the Internet who do not pay for our creations. This global weapon is designed to not only help eliminate this illegal and unfair practice but also to bring awareness of the loss to legitimate and hardworking musicians, their record companies, publishers and support systems. It was not developed in conjunction with any record labels or publishers nor with the Recording Industry Association of America or any other organization. We do not wish to cause destruction or other damage to computers or other programs but have tailored this application attached to frequently downloaded copyrighted music to attack those who steal songs.²

³Since there is no anti-virus protection that will detect or block this application imbedded in what appear to be otherwise working downloads, only removal of the illicit songs from hard drives can prevent it from activating on July 4. If songs have been burned to CDs or are transferred to other devices that contain music download programs, those devices will also crash and remove all music files. A further statement will be madeafter the MusicPanel activates July 4.²Please ignore any messages regarding this hoax and do not pass on messages. Passing on messages about the hoax only serves to further propagate it.
Writeup By: Eric Chien
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