Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mac Attack!

Agency: Horn Group

Significance:
Whenever there is a new virus to hit the Windows world, every anti-virus vendor floods the media with offers for commentary. The Macintosh world has been blessedly untouched by computer viruses, until just recently.

The Pitch:

Subject: CLIENT Discovers First Ever Virus for Mac OS X

Experts at CLIENT Labs, CLIENT's global network of security research and analysis centers, have discovered the first virus for the Apple Mac OS X platform. Named Leap-A (also known as Oompa-A), the virus spreads via the iChat instant messaging system, forwarding itself as a file called latestpics.tgz to contacts on the infected users' buddy list.

When the latestpics.tgz file is opened on a computer it disguises itself with a JPEG graphic icon in an attempt to fool people into thinking it is harmless. The worm uses the text "oompa" as an infection marker in the resource forks of infected programs to prevent it from re-infecting the same files.

"Some owners of Mac computers have held the belief that Mac OS X is incapable of harboring computer viruses, but Leap-A will leave them shell-shocked, as it shows that the malware threat on Mac OS X is real," said NAME, senior technology consultant for CLIENT. "Mac users shouldn't think it's okay to lie back and not worry about viruses."

Experts at CLIENT are continuing to examine Leap-A and will issue further information shortly. CLIENT's customers have been automatically protected against the worm since 12:25 GMT.

"This is the first real virus for the Mac OS X platform," continued NAME. "Apple Mac users need to be just as careful running unknown or unsolicited code on their computers as their friends and colleagues running Windows."

More information about this virus can be found at: http://www.CLIENTNAME.com...

Meanwhile, NAME is available for comment at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Can we arrange a time to chat?

What's To Like About The Pitch: This one has a number of key elements. The subjectline is brief and to the point, it is very timely (issued within hours of the detection), and is a genuine and interesting "first." The pitch is written to both pique interest and provide "drop in" convenience quotes for pubs/portals with few staff - and, the quotes are pretty juicy, i.e., the client contact will clearly not be a boring interview. Lastly, more in-depth info was provided at the URL, for reporters who needed more background before committing to an interview.

According to the folks at Horn Group, this pitch went out, one-to-one, on Thursday last week. Their client has since been a key resource in nearly 100 stories thus far, and the news has sparked heated debate within the Mac community. Great job, guys!

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