Skip to comments.Malware inserted on PC production lines, says study
Posted on 09/13/2012 5:11:08 PM PDT by Renfield
Cybercriminals have opened a new front in their battle to infect computers with malware - PC production lines.
Several new computers have been found carrying malware installed in the factory, suggests a Microsoft study.
One virus called Nitol found by Microsoft steals personal details to help criminals plunder online bank accounts.
Microsoft won permission from a US court to tackle the network of hijacked PCs made from Nitol-infected computers. Domain game
In a report detailing its work to disrupt the Nitol botnet, Microsoft said the criminals behind the malicious program had exploited insecure supply chains to get viruses installed as PCs were being built.
The viruses were discovered when Microsoft digital crime investigators bought 20 PCs, 10 desktops and 10 laptops from different cities in China.
Four of the computers were infected with malicious programs even though they were fresh from the factory.
Microsoft set up and ran Operation b70 to investigate and found that the four viruses were included in counterfeit software some Chinese PC makers were installing on computers.
Nitol was the most pernicious of the viruses Microsoft caught because, as soon as the computer was turned on, it tried to contact the command and control system set up by Nitol's makers to steal data from infected machines.
Further investigation revealed that the botnet behind Nitol was being run from a web domain that had been involved in cybercrime since 2008. Also on that domain were 70,000 separate sub-domains used by 500 separate strains of malware to fool victims or steal data.
"We found malware capable of remotely turning on an infected computer's microphone and video camera, potentially giving a cybercriminal eyes and ears into a victim's home or business," said Richard Boscovich, a lawyer in Microsoft's digital crimes unit in a blogpost.
A US court has now given Microsoft permission to seize control of the web domain, 3322.org, which it claims is involved with the Nitol infections. This will allow it to filter out legitimate data and block traffic stolen by the viruses.
Peng Yong, the Chinese owner of the 3322.org domain, told the AP news agency that he knew nothing about Microsoft's legal action and said his company had a "zero tolerance" attitude towards illegal activity on the domain.
"Our policy unequivocally opposes the use of any of our domain names for malicious purposes," Peng told AP.
However, he added, the sheer number of users it had to police meant it could not be sure that all activity was legitimate.
"We currently have 2.85 million domain names and cannot exclude that individual users might be using domain names for malicious purposes," he said.
This just in: Malware inserted in study!
Just wait until people realize that computer motherboards that are manufactured in China come fully equipped all kinds of things. Just ask Iran, they are familiar with embedded computer chips.
The FedGov is already jealous
Yeah and I bet it goes by the names “AOL, MSN, Norton, and McAfee
Ol’ Peng is full of Horsespit.
I bet HE’S the ringleader.
Free viruses that come pre-installed are just another benefit of free trade.
The Chinese are just Installing the viruses and backdoors into brand-new computers that Americans refuse to install.
So the industry had to outsource the manufacturing of computers to someone who would install this free software.
See how the consumer won there? Free software, installed very inexpensively... that’s a benefit of free trade.
We are total idiots. The Chinese are not our friend.
Consumer mdse. is one thing. Bad
But, our Government, esp. the military buys from them also. Beyond stupid.
Bought new computer last year. Had major problems getting it set up and running.
took back to shop and told virus infested...laughed at them and said it hasn’t been connected to the net yet!
Silence...complete silence. Got a new computer out of the fiasco.
Finally some recognition for the scourge of crapware infesting new computers! Calling the manufacturers criminals might be going slightly too far. Slightly. ;)
Fedgov, criminals....criminals, fedgov.... potato, potahto
Any manufacturer want to offer clean Windows 8 PC’s with zero crapware pre-installed? They might just make a profit...