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Klingon Anti-Virus Software Available... For Real

With all the hype surrounding the recently rebooted Star Trek franchise, it doesn't seem like coincidence that Sophos' Klingon Anti-Virus software has suddenly been thrown into the limelight. Believe it or not, the software is actually legitimate, based on the company's Threat Detection Test software. According to the company, a "potential customer" originally approached Sophos, wanting to see if the software could be translated into the infamous Star Trek dialect. Sohpos claims that the Klingon Anti-Virus program was never meant to reach the general public, however users discovered its existence, spread the word, and thus propelled the tongue-in-cheek side project into a full-fledged product... which happens to coincide the release of the new Star Trek movie, of course.

"I wish I could say we had (synced the release with the movie)," said Carole Theirault, a senior security consultant with Sophos. She said that downloads of the Klingon Anti-Virus software have been "through the roof," leaving the company shocked although the software is actually difficult to locate on the Sophos website. Indeed, it's not listed within the website directory, nor does the term "Klingon" bring up any reliable results in the search window. Needless to say, the program isn't heavily advertised, and perhaps for a good reason.

According to Graham Cluley, another security analyst at Sophos, the company received a "rather hard-nosed communication from a certain party," more than likely Paramount and/or Bad Robot, in an attempt to "bully" the company into removing the Klingon Anti-Virus software from the website. "We think that's daft, so we won't be doing it." This type of corporate bullyism is not unheard of: Twentieth-Century Fox, Sony, Paramount and other big Hollywood production companies send out Internet hounds sniffing for copyright infringement scenarios on a daily basis. Although Sophos' software is free for the first eighteen months, the company eventually makes a profit, and without some kind of agreement to use the Klingon language, earning money from copyrighted material is a big no-no.

"No copyright infringement is intended on our part for the Star Trek terminology and expressions that are held by Paramount, the estate of Gene Roddenberry or of any others," reads the website.

Still, the software is both useful and humorous. According to Computerworld, the company hired on a Klingon translator--a member of the Klingon Language Institute no less--to convert the software's text from English to Klingon. The translator, a man from Dallas identified only as "naHQun," is prolific in more than just the Klingon language. "He translates all kinds of things," said Theirault. "He's done some Shakespeare plays, I believe. And his next project is the Kama Sutra. Really."

Upon loading up the Klingon Anti-Virus website, it even stays true to the Star Trek theme, saying that the software has compatibility issues with the version of msxml4.dll used by cloaking devices on Romulan-modded D7-class battle cruisers. "Installing this software on such vessels is punishable by ordeal of Ginst'a'Ed," reads the software notes. Of course, those plain, earth-bound consumers wanting to check out the anti-virus software need not worry about all that Klingon text: there's an English version available as well.

In all actuality, Sophos' Klingon Anti-Virus software might be rather cool to use, even if consumers have no idea how to read the text. Fans may want to grab a copy soon before the mighty Paramount flyswatter comes in and smashes the software like everything else that may "illegally" infringe on the its property. For those interested, the initial Klingon download weighs around 34 MB, with the English version located right here.