April Fool: Shatner virus planted by hackers on orbiting satellite

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

We published this story on 1 April 2009. Of course, the Shatner virus doesn’t really exist, and Far Polo L1 is an anagram of Apr1l Fool. We hope you enjoy the joke (and the video!) as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

IT security and control firm Sophos has discovered that hackers have successfully infected an orbiting communications satellite with a virus, and are interfering with television broadcasts.

The Far Polo L1 satellite, placed in geostationary orbit to broadcast TV programs to a global audience, appears to have been infected by a virus known as W32/Shatner. Under the control of sci-fi obsessed hackers, the Shatner virus is embedding subliminal images related to Star Trek into popular television programs such as “The Simpsons”, “Friends” and “Doogie Howser MD” as they are beamed down to viewers on Earth…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.