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Framed by Malware
It’s a disturbing occurrence that you don’t automatically think of in terms of the repercussions of a malware infestation…And according to this recent Associated Press article, it’s happening more often than you might imagine – innocent computer users unwittingly have pornographic images deposited on their PCs due to a virus, branding them as child abusers.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Pedophiles can exploit virus-infected PCs to remotely store and view their stash without fear they'll get caught. Pranksters or someone trying to frame you can tap viruses to make it appear that you surf illegal Web sites. Whatever the motivation, you get child porn on your computer -- and might not realize it until police knock at your door.”
The article goes on to detail an Associated Press investigation that found cases where innocent people have been accused as pedophiles when family or co-workers uncover images of child pornography on their PC, ultimately bringing devastating effects on the victims’ family, career, reputation and finances - in order to prove their innocence. Complicating many of these situations, the report explains, is the fact that pedophiles frequently blame viruses to explain the presence of pornographic images found on their PCs, making law enforcement skeptical of this defense.
These types of cases are reminiscent of the plight of Connecticut, USA teacher Julie Amero, the so-called "Spyware Teacher" who was facing up to 40 years behind bars after being convicted of exposing her students to pornography by allegedly accessing pornographic images on a classroom computer in October 2004. Amero's defense contended that the teacher had no control over the incident because malware on her computer caused a loop of pornographic pop-ups to barrage her screen. The controversial guilty verdict was then dropped in 2007.