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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 CNN.com content partner, Chris Matyszczyk says the video first was uploaded to the French site DailyMotion.fr.

"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 tinyurl.com and bit.ly, 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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Erictric   July 21st, 2009 11:22 am ET

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

Erictric Tech Blog
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B   July 21st, 2009 11:36 am ET

Refrain from watching unknown random vids


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.


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.


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?


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 7:40 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.


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.


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.


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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