Computer virus targets Irish language users

6 Sep 2012

A computer user in west Donegal has discovered a computer virus that is targeting users as Gaeilge. This could be the first virus to make use of Ireland’s native tongue, however, it seems to come in poorly translated form – so likely not from a Gaeilgeoir turned cyber-criminal.

According to the Donegal Daily website, the user discovered that his computer was locked and received a pop-up message warning he may have accessed pornography and that the computer had been frozen by an Irish Government agency. The alert then instructed the user to pay €100 in order to have his computer unlocked.

What was most unusual was that the warning was written in Irish.

“It’s quite a sophisticated and convincing scam,” said Brian McGarvey, computer technician with Techie2u. “It has a logo which features an Irish flag and it looks quite official.”

However, McGarvey also noticed that a native Irish speaker would probably be wise to the trick, as only about 60pc of the text actually makes sense.

In 12 years working with computers, this is the first time McGarvey has encountered a virus that communicates in Irish, reminding us all to be vigilant against scams that could crop up in any form.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.