“Of all the sinister things that Internet viruses do, this might be the worst: They can make you an unsuspecting collector of child pornography,” Jordan Robertson reports for The Associated Press.

“Heinous pictures and videos can be deposited on computers by viruses — the malicious programs better known for swiping your credit card numbers. In this twist, it’s your reputation that’s stolen,” Robertson reports. “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,” Robertson reports. “An Associated Press investigation found cases in which innocent people have been branded as pedophiles after their co-workers or loved ones stumbled upon child porn placed on a PC through a virus. It can cost victims hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove their innocence.”

“In the first publicly known cases of individuals being victimized, two men in the United Kingdom were cleared in 2003 after viruses were shown to have been responsible for the child porn on their PCs,” Robertson reports. “In one case, an infected e-mail or pop-up ad poisoned a defense contractor’s PC and downloaded the offensive pictures. In the other, a virus changed the home page on a man’s Web browser to display child porn, a discovery made by his 7-year-old daughter. The man spent more than a week in jail and three months in a halfway house, and lost custody of his daughter.”

“Ned Solon of Casper, Wyoming is serving six years for child porn found in a folder used by a file-sharing program on his computer,” Robertson reports. “Solon admits he used the program to download video games and adult porn — but not child porn… ‘Computers are not to be trusted,’ says Jeremiah Grossman, founder of WhiteHat Security Inc. He describes it as ‘painfully simple’ to get a computer to download something the owner doesn’t want — whether it’s a program that displays ads or one that stores illegal pictures.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good thing you “saved” $69 on that shiteous Dell laptop instead of getting that Apple MacBook you really wanted, Skippy.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “sparkplug” and “Cubert” for the heads up.]