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July 21, 2009

Erin Andrews video spreads virus on Web

Posted: 11:02 AM ET

Some links to a video of an ESPN reporter undressing in her hotel room carry a computer virus, according to a security analyst.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, a computer security company, told CNN that the viral video of Erin Andrews gives hackers an opportunity to compromise Mac and PC machines.

Someone reportedly shot the video of Andrews through her hotel room's peephole. A lawyer for Andrews says the reporter - voted "America's Sexiest Sportscaster" last year by Playboy magazine - was unaware she was being taped, according to CNN affiliate WESH.

"There was a genuinely huge news story about this poor woman who had been filmed this way, and the hackers jumped on that and thought, 'Fantastic, everyone is going to be looking for this, let’s create fake Web sites and infect them,'" Cluley said.

It's unclear how many people have been infected with the virus or if computers have been harmed by the incident, Cluley said. The virus gets on computers when people try to play the video of Andrews, he said. A message asks Internet users to download a video player and a virus instead infects their machines, he said.

The virus gives hackers the ability to do just about whatever they want with your computer, Cluley said.

Searches for the naked video of Andrews were spiking this morning on Google, according to Google Trends. The two hottest searches on the site are related to the video.

Cluley urged people not to look for the clip.

"If you want to look at naked women buy yourself an adult magazine or go and get yourself a girlfriend," he said. "Searching on the Web is a really dangerous thing to do."

Writing for CNET, a content partner, Chris Matyszczyk says the video first was uploaded to the French site

"Naturally, it then wandered across the Internet like a rodent in search of Camembert," he writes.

The video is flying across the Web on social networks, Cluley said, adding that shortened Web links, such as those from and, add to the problem because Internet users can't tell where the links go until they click them.

Firefox users can download a longurl add-on to address that problem, he said.

What do you all make of this incident? Any security tips? Feel free to chime in with comments.

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Filed under: computer security

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Mav   July 21st, 2009 11:22 am ET

Suuuuuure... creative damage control though. Nice work.

Erictric   July 21st, 2009 11:22 am ET

Some people will do anything to get attention. When will the viruses stop!?

Erictric Tech Blog

B   July 21st, 2009 11:36 am ET

Refrain from watching unknown random vids

drew   July 21st, 2009 11:45 am ET

This just goes to show how downright disgusting the general public is.

Erin Andrews is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but to feed this pervert that stalked her to her hotel room and proceeded to film her through a peephole is just as gross as being the one filming it.

This poor woman can't even get dressed in her own hotel room. Internet users deserve to get infected for sinking this low in the first place.

Greg   July 21st, 2009 11:52 am ET

I viewed the video without any virus problems at all.

Glenn   July 21st, 2009 11:55 am ET

Peer to Peer networks are some the most dangerous things out there for spreading a virus. You can figure that a good 85% of the "videos" that are there, whatever P2P you to to are going to be infected. My suggestion is don't use them. If you feel that you can't live without them, make darned sure that your anti-virus product defintions are up-to-date and that you scan before even thinking of accessing them. Will that stop a virus? Depends on the virus. I don't use them, and try to persuade my friends not to as well. Again, this is just me. If you do feel the need to use them, all I can say is good luck!

Paul   July 21st, 2009 12:28 pm ET

Her lawyers are stupid.

I've seen the video – and no, I didn't get any of the super scary viruses that they're warning about. It's very blurry and indistinct. It could have claimed it was just about any blonde celebrity in the world with about equal credibility – until her lawyers confirmed it was her. Had they denied it, it would have been just another naked woman on the internet, and given how lousy the picture was, would have faded away quickly.

Apparently, they need to read up on the Streisand Effect.

I suspect the real incidence of virus infections from this video are quite low – given the stupidity of them confirming that it was her, I could easily see this scare campaign being her team's next attempt at putting the genie back in the bottle.

astrotrain   July 21st, 2009 12:43 pm ET

Also for security tips...

* Never click on any attachments in email that you are not familiar of who the sender is. And this goes for any links in emails promising videos or free items.

* Use FireFox.... Internet Explorer on Windows is prone to security risks with its 'entwined' into the Windows OS and ActiveX. Firefox is not bundled into the OS nor allows ActiveX code to be executed.

* Get a REAL virus checker, McAfee & Norton are over price and over rated... you can use such things as AVG Free Edition (no spyware or gimmicks as long as you use for personal use), ClamWin, Avast. All three are FREE, no strings attached and do a good job keeping your system safe from Viruses (Highly suggested is AVG though!)

* Pick up a Spyware detector/remover – Spybot Search & Destory is the best thus far. Its free and is free to update its definitions. Don't pay for Spyrobot, or any other thing you find on the shelf at the Computer Store. Spybot has been in the Spyware detection business for over a decade.

Sal   July 21st, 2009 12:44 pm ET

I hate hackers.. but in this case, you get what you deserve.

Tom   July 21st, 2009 1:07 pm ET

Looks like ESPN is working overtime with this virus story to help Erin out.

Dale Hemming   July 21st, 2009 2:11 pm ET

Hackers are simply free enterprise Capitalists at work making money like all good Capitalists using fraud and getting away with it.

Brad   July 21st, 2009 3:23 pm ET

I have a girlfriend, but she won't let me see her naked.

Janglestern   July 21st, 2009 3:50 pm ET

I didn't know about this video until I read this article. Thanks CNN for keeping me up to date with the internet porn vid of the week.

Paul DeFlorio   July 21st, 2009 3:53 pm ET

The way in which such a video is 'created' is tawdy and weak to say the least. There is some form of theft here. The subject matter (Ms. Andrews) was not asked to be used in this video without clothing. I think the 'producers' of the video simply should have asked prior to doing so.

This is one of those 'there outta be a law' things, but one does not exist. It should. I feel consent is required to gain non-doctored imagery of a person naked. That should be a pretty easy law to write and enact.

anony   July 21st, 2009 4:08 pm ET

The video is so blurry, it could be anyone.
But, whoever it is, the woman has a great body.

pedro   July 21st, 2009 4:08 pm ET

What virus is being spread?

Greg   July 21st, 2009 4:13 pm ET

Yep, the news media is trying to help her out with the virus story, but it backfired. I'd never even her of the poor girl, and now I've watched the video and seen her nude. So they should have not broadcast the story all over the world. I heard about it on my local news, I put her name into Google, and there was the video to view, no virus, I was able to view it on Google, avoiding the obviously bad links.

This falls under the category of "fame", put yourself out there in the spotlight and you are a target. It is sad but it comes with the territory. I know I'd be ballistic if it were my wife or daughter, but little can be done about it these days.

Fsoli   July 21st, 2009 4:24 pm ET

"The media needs to get their facts strait before publishing this stuff for ratings!"

I'll say. The video wasn't of Erin Andrews dressing, it was of her doing her hair and other related activities while naked. To quote the great Mike Gundy, "Get your facts straight!"

GuyInNC   July 21st, 2009 4:35 pm ET

These people deserve to get a computer virus. Maybe they will think twice about invading this womans privacy.

Dawn   July 21st, 2009 4:53 pm ET

Can anyone say 'Karma'?

I'm not against porn or anything, but really- LOL

relax   July 21st, 2009 5:39 pm ET

it's Erin Andrews...of course people are going to want to see it.....duh

wanderingdog   July 21st, 2009 6:09 pm ET

first, you bring it to the general public's attention – now, nature and curiousity took it's course, and you say to not look for it – maybe you frickin media people need to watch what you write about..

lololol   July 21st, 2009 7:36 pm ET

Found it and watched with no problem, Linux rules! Finding anything you want on the internet does not have to be unsafe 🙂

I didn't even know who Erin Andrews was, and the video was suck quality anyways, but now my curiosity is satisfied!

lololol   July 21st, 2009 7:40 pm ET

Oh, and saying the virus can infect Mac users as well as Windows is misinformation. I visited a few of the malicious sites, they act like a windows file browser and try to get you to download an executable, which will not run on a Mac.

NObody   July 21st, 2009 11:04 pm ET

Wow, that hacker had an original idea....Not.
Rule of Thumb: If anything asks you to download a plug-in or Codec or anything just get on Google (or Bing) and type the name in plus "review" and you will get your answer if it is good or bad.
It takes .00256 secs in a search and saves countless minutes of getting rid of a virus.

theshank   July 21st, 2009 11:51 pm ET

It could of been a publicity stunt. Would'nt surprise me if it was. Did'nt hurt Paris or Pam and Tommy. Either way its idiotic. Just another moronic act that will end up placing restrictions on the rest of us eventually. Also heard that its illegal to watch it . What ? Heck then one of the leading TV stations broke the law because they showed it . Obviously they blurred out the good parts.

tin   July 22nd, 2009 2:46 am ET

Ok, so seriously, what the problem with the virus....If your going to watch such a video, knowing it was made with out content, then you deserve to the the virus.....seriously.....there's plenty of legit porn out there made by people who know they are acting in porn.

so in a nutshell, if your going to invade/degrade/humiliate her, buy watching the vid, then you deserve any virus you the article said, go get some legit porn......its not that hard

teresa   July 22nd, 2009 4:54 am ET

Anyone who views this video for pleasure is just as guilty as the person who filmed it. You might as well go peep in someone's window yourself. There are plenty of magazines and video's out there with naked women to look at and these women have been photographed or filmed with their consent and awareness .
So, if you get a virus then you deserve one. Amazing how many closet peeping tom freaks we have in the world.
I travel alot as does my 19 year old daughter and it scares the heck out of me that the security of a hotel room is an open invitation for something like this.

Dan   July 22nd, 2009 11:06 am ET

Okay people

Times to educate you a bit about viruses....

I'm responding due to someone's comment about 85% of "videos" on p2p networks being infected with a virus... Did you know that exactly 0% of video files on the entire web are infected with a virus? A video, image or music file cannot contain a virus...

In the method used by these "hackers", the user has to click YES to INSTALL a "video player"..... the video itself, or any video out there, is completely free of any malicious software...

So the general rule, never click Yes to a dialog box on a website you don't know/trust, but stop spreading lies about VIDEOS infecting your computer....

P2P networks do have a lot of spyware/malware/adware, however if you're looking for a video, why would you then double click on a .exe file which is an application, not a video... be smart, question before acting.

Dwarf   July 22nd, 2009 9:23 pm ET

Just came from an article about Amazon deleting books from people's ebooks, had 4 comments total. Just goes to show sex sells.

theshank   July 24th, 2009 5:52 pm ET

Just to clarify my first comment. Either this was a staged publicity stunt , or Erin Andrews and ESPN are lacking some smarts for admitting that its her.

A little odd , don't you think that the female in the video (that was alledgedly too blurry to see who it actually was) came forward and told the world who it was ? Duh ?

Voyeurs and perverts need to pay a price for invading someone's privacy but something about this really does'nt add up to me.

Sean   July 30th, 2009 7:54 am ET

Spybot search and destroy hasnt been updated in years, the best way to avoid getting a virus on your computer is to disconnect your internet, take it from someone who has been doing netowrk security for many years now... if someone wants to put a virus on your computer they will find a way whether you like it or not. Check out my site and contact me for a free consultation.

AVG Download Fan4   April 29th, 2010 10:00 am ET

are you kidding?

Free voyarism | TesticleRadio   March 6th, 2011 6:25 am ET

[...] Erin Andrews video spreads virus on Web – SciTechBlog – CNN.comIts free and is free to update its definitions. ... I'm not condoning internet voyarism, but let's face facts, looking at naked women (or just people)is probably the largest single segment of internet use there is. I'm guessing there is no virus and this is just a lame attempt to scare people away from looking for what... [...]

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