Earlier today, The Guardian reported that BeautifulPeople.com - a dating website exclusively for the exceptionally good-looking - was the victim of a virus that allowed 30,000 unattractive people to register for the site.

The virus, which attacked the functionality used to screen potential members' looks, was named the Shrek virus , based on the film that sends a message of inner beauty being more important than external good looks.

Greg Hodge, the site's managing director, said in an initial statement: We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted, many of whom were no oil painting.

We responded immediately, repairing the damage from the Shrek virus and putting every new member [to the vote].

After the story made the media rounds, an article posted on an information security website by the name of Sophos called the claims into question:

My suspicion is that this is more likely to be a publicity stunt by BeautifulPeople than to have any basis in truth, and the world's media are falling for it, Graham Cluley wrote, calling it a fantastic piece of chicanery, but conceding that, like its PR stunts in the past, it worked.