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Viruses Secretly Downloading Child Pornography

Malware and viruses have a lot of tricks up their sleeves -- from stealing passwords and harvesting credit card information, to simply destroying data and crashing PCs. But of all those nasty abilities, the worst and most confounding is the ability to secretly load a PC with child pornography.

It's difficult to understand the motives for dumping boatloads of child pornography on the hard drives of unsuspecting Web users. It is possible, though, for pedophiles to secretly store their highly illegal collections on other people's PCs, view them remotely, and thus avoid incriminating themselves. Another possibility is that the programs are designed simply to wreak havoc on the reputations of others, framing them as collectors of underage filth. The first publicly recognized case of such an infection, in 2003, involved a British man who was arrested on child pornography charges, only to be cleared later when it was determined that a virus loaded the illegal content on his PC.

A more recent case, mentioned by the AP, almost ruined the life of Michael Fiola, a workman's comp investigator in Massachusetts. In 2007, Fiola was arrested after child pornography was discovered on his state-issued, work laptop. Eleven months, $250,000, countless lost friends, several death threats, and a second mortgage later, Fiola was finally acquitted after it was shown that the laptop had visited as many as 40 child pornography sites per minute. Since such a rate is nearly impossible to achieve with human hands, the computer had clearly been taken over by malware.

What makes such infections worse than their data-stealing counterparts is the difficulty in proving your innocence, and the lack of channels through which you can recoup your losses. At least, if a hacker steals your credit card info, you can save yourself from financial ruin by contacting the fraud department at your bank. But if you're arrested for possession of child pornography and forced to spend tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars defending yourself, there is no restitution. [From: AP/Huffington Post]

Tags: child pornography, ChildPornography, crime, malwarre, porn, pornography, security, top, virus

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