Fake virus texts send Evil message

Fake virus texts send Evil message

Summary: The makers of Resident Evil have fallen from grace with security firm Sophos after launching a controversial SMS marketing campaign

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TOPICS: Security
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The SMS marketing campaign of Resident Evil has been criticised by security company Sophos for causing virus worries among mobile phone users. Game producers CE Europe are rewarding users for sending text messages and emails to friends telling them they have been infected by a virus. This campaign comes only a week after Symbian's warnings about a mobile phone virus in the wild.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said the company has already received a number of calls from worried phone users. Viral marketing campaigns like this increase the workload of IT support staff. "It's an IT administrator's nightmare -- having to reassure users that it is not a genuine infection," said Cluley. "Viral marketing is dangerous -- it creates an attitude that viruses are ok, when we're trying to say be very careful."

A spokesman at CE Europe was unapologetic about the campaign. "It is purely a marketing campaign -- if you go to the Web site it's very obvious that's what it is," he said. "It wasn't our intention to create panic among mobile phone users."

The spokesman said the marketing campaign has been a success -- over 1,400 people have signed up in the six days it has been running and 69 percent of viral messages have been sent by SMS. "We were hoping it would spread in the way a real virus spreads," he said.

Topic: Security

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5 comments
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  • As part of the team responsible for the recent T-Virus
    anonymous
  • Nick Gillett's response is typical & predictable from one of those whose arrogant manner one encounters far too often these days.
    That they are bereft of incapable of any approaching compassion for alarmed users is also typical.
    In truth they are so obsessed with their own perception of their own importance, that they are incapable of seeing little else.
    Totally irresponsible behaviour would seem to be the 'norm' for such people!
    Which of course does nothing to enhance the 'games' industry in the public perception.
    So should draconian retribution befall the industry they will only have themselves to blame & the sooner it happens the better.
    anonymous
  • Anonymous attacks on my character aside, there was absolutely nothing in this campaign that has upset anyone but Sophos.

    We run a lot of SMS and email campaigns (all opt-in and fully permission based with easy and well-flagged unsubscribe routes) and when consumers don't like what you send them, they let you know in short order.

    We have had a few dozen consumers unsubscribe from this campaign, which with a database of 1,000s of individuals is a very, very small number - we have received no complaints at all. In addition we have checked with the ASA, who have not had any complaints either.

    I understand that without fully investigating the mechanics of this campaign (which comply fully with the DMA, CAP code and all EU privacy laws relating to digital messaging) it may be possible to misinterpret them, but to launch such a bitter and slightly ungrammatical attack is, I believe, unwarranted.
    anonymous
  • fffffuuuuucccckkkkeeeerrrr
    anonymous
  • a kid i hate
    anonymous