Accused Pedophiles Framed by Viruses

Internet viruses can do a variety of sinister things, but making someone an unsuspecting collector of child pornography is up there with the worst. Heinous pictures and videos can be deposited on a computer by a virus — malicious programs better known for swiping credit card numbers. In this twist, reputations are stolen.

An Associated Press investigation has 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. Their situations are complicated by the fact that actual pedophiles often blame these viruses, making the defense one viewed with much skepticism by law enforcement.

According to security software producer  F-Secure Corp, about 20 million of the estimated 1 billion Internet-connected PCs worldwide are infected with viruses at any moment, giving hackers full control. Computers often get infected when people open e-mail attachments from unknown sources or visit a malicious Web page.

Pedophiles can tap these viruses in several ways, the simplest being to force someone else's computer to surf child porn sites, collecting images along the way. A computer can even be made into a warehouse for pictures and videos that can be viewed remotely by the actual pedophile/hacker when that PC is online.

Pedophiles don't always need to be involved, however. Child porn can land on any computer by a sick prank or an attempt to frame the PC's owner. Courtesy of

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