Lose/Lose Mac “Game” Deletes Your Files with Every Ship Destroyed

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Symantec is alerting Mac users to new Mac game called Lose/Lose (download and/or play at your own risk!! TMO certainly recommends that do neither) that deletes files in the user's home directory every time the player shoots an alien ship. Destroy a ship, lose a file. What's more, the game's creator tells users exactly what will happen when they play, making the game something less than a trojan horse, but much worse than the art project he labels it.

The game was found by Takashi Katsuki, one of Symantec's engineers in Japan. In the video and screeshots below, Symantec shows what happens when you play the game with a Finder window open next to the game's play screen.

Mr. Katsuki said that the game promises consequences to destroying the alien ships, while alluding to benefits for not destroying any. Symantec couldn't get through the end of the game, however, without it crashing, and thus we do not know what these alleged benefits might be.

Lose/Lose Instructions
The instructions warn that your files will be deleted.

Pew Pew!
Pew pew! There goes a Preference file!

The game reports your "score" (i.e. the number of files destroyed) to a server, and is supposed to delete itself when you die.

Symantec's antivirus software is treating the game like a trojan, and have named it OSX.Loosemaque, Virus definitions have been updated with information on the game so that it will be detected and deleted. The firm warned that third parties could alter the code to cause even more havoc than the game's creator intended.

Symantec video demonstrating Lose/Lose.

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Bryan Chaffin

Zoinks! This is precisely the sort of thing I’d have played had I just come across it. The game looks fun.

But then, I still enjoy Space Invaders and Galaga…

The creator’s point is an interesting one, but his methods leaving something to be desired, to say the least.


Woah. Look how insecure Macs are. ;-/

It’s sad that Symantec turned this into a marketing tool. They should emphasize that the developer makes it abundantly clear what is going to happen if you play the game. But their goal is to scare you. I hope other AV companies bash them for deeming this a trojan. A trojan does things that aren’t disclosed. It’s a social experiment if you ask me.

The firm warned that third parties could alter the code to cause even more havoc than the game’s creator intended.

And think about this- are there people out there that are actually okay with files being deleted, but not okay with “more havoc”? “I knew that it would delete my files, but I didn’t know it was going to take a picture of me playing the game and upload it to my Facebook page!!”
Thanks Symantec. I’m glad you have our backs.


At least it warns you not to play it.


Sounds like a wicked graduate internet psychology research study. Seriously. Has anyone checked out the possibility? If not, it might be an interesting exercise.


Investigate if a losing play doesn’t send a “gotcha” report back to the developer. Scoundrel!


This is very troubling - that a Symantec engineer would write such a program and release it. Symantec’s motives seem quite clear: not enough threats on the Mac? Let’s create some! Better get some antivirus software if this sort of thing could be out there! You never know what your kids might be downloading.

Dispicable, and Symantec should be sued or at least fined for such an act.


Ummm.. What I get from the text is that Symantec only _found_ it. They didn’t write it.


Yeah - I read it wrong. Thanks for the correction.

Paul Dorman

So… suppose a kid downloads and plays this and deletes his parents very important document?  Children can’t be held legally responsible, so I suspect that would leave the developer holding the bag.

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