Friday, 14 March 2008

Pre-installed viruses

It is hard to know who to trust in this world. Although some people create conspiracy theories about Microsoft, Google and any other large and successful companies, for some reason most of us trust large organisations to be honest and capable of providing products free of malicious content. That is why we believe the pills we buy from the pharmacy are not counterfeit, the fuel from Tesco petrol stations is not contaminated and that our PC gear is delivered free of viruses.

And yet, for years now, there have been isolated cases where hardware manufacturers have supplied devices pre-loaded with malware. The Associated Press has written an article about factory-installed malware, noting the devices including Apple iPods, TomTom GPS units and even photo frames sold by Target and Best Buy have all contained malicious software.

I can even remember a case where IBM sold a USB flash drive infected with a boot sector virus.