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BeautifulPeople dupes media with ugly virus scam, an internet dating website that reckons it only accepts members who pass an attractiveness test, has suckered the mainstream media with a report that it has been hit by a computer virus.

The narcissist fumbling shop issued a press release saying that it had been hit by a virus named 'Shrek' which, the site said, had allowed "30,000 'ugly' people to invade the site".

"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting," said Greg Hodge, MD of BeautifulPeople, in the statement.

The story quickly made it onto the likes of bilious tabloid TV station Fox News, as well as the pages of the Daily Mail - which uncharacteristically failed to link the virus to any form of cancer. And it seems more reputable outlets have been gulled too. Stand up the The Guardian (opens in new tab) and Daily Telegraph (opens in new tab) for shame.

But UK-based security firm Sophos is calling bullshit on the whole thing. In a blog post (opens in new tab), analyst Graham Cluley labelled the story a "fantastic piece of chicanery," designed to "get them many thousands of pounds of free publicity with little risk of damage to their reputation".

One has to wonder how the papers fell for it - journalism's traditional summertime 'silly season' hasn't even begun yet. We refer you again to the words of the site's MD, Hodge for further evidence of the story's suspect nature:

"We have sincere regret for the unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and who believed, albeit for a short while, that they were beautiful. It must be a bitter pill to swallow, but better to have had a slice of heaven then never to have tasted it at all."

According to the site, "a team of beauty police from around the world has been recruited to guard against any further infiltrators who do not come up to the expected standards."

And no, we're not going to give them a link. They've had quite enough free publicity already. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.