After it was revealed that some of the Asus Eee Box PCs sold in Japan came with a preloaded virus, the Taiwanese company ordered a recall of all such infected PCs. Now, Asus has placed the entire blame on a second-tier Chinese OEM that had been tasked with the responsibility of manufacturing Eee PCs for the Japanese market.
The unnamed OEM had been chosen in order to cut costs, but eventually became the source of embarrassment for Asus. The company now plans to transfer Japanese Eee Box PC orders to other second-tier OEMs.
Asus has recently admitted that some of their Eee Box desktop PC’s have shipped with a virus. While they’ve claimed that they’ve only sent boxes with viruses to Japan, it can be confirmed that other territories have received units as well.
As stated by an email sent out by Asus, the Eee Box’s 80GB hard drive has the “recycled.exe” virus files hidden in the drive’s D: partition. Once the drive is opened, the virus activates and infects the C: drive, as well as any removable drives connected to the system. Symantec states that the malware is likely to be a W32/Usbalex worm, which creates an “autorun.inf” file to trigger “recycled.exe” from D:.
With any luck, Asus will have this under control before they send out their next shipments. Until then though, be sure to look out for any of these new boxes shipping to a desk near you, they could be waiting to take all of your precious information.
A computer worm primarily targeted at online gamers has found a very odd prey in form of the International Space Station. NASA confirmed last week that a computer worm had boarded the International Space Station and infected at least one laptop. Fortunately, though, none of the mission-critical systems were affected by the password-grabbing worm. NASA hasn’t revealed the name of the worm, but a website says that it is W32.Gammima.AG. Most of you might find the entire episode quite surprising and amusing, but the folks at NASA seem to be inured to computer worms aboard the ISS because this is not the first such instance.
Engineers have come up with a bit of sick technology, and we're not using that term as slang. Instead, they've found a way to assemble a key component of a microscopic battery using viruses, potentially paving the way for cheap and simple construction of pint-sized power sources.
The MIT group had previously been able to genetically engineer viruses to make a protein skin capable of attracting bits of metal, and this new research builds on that by having those same viruses build a specific part. In the MIT experiment, the genetically engineered viruses would help build the anode portion of a battery by attracting cobalt oxide. And more than just a proof of concept, the process has been drawing attention because of its ease-of-use and low cost.
One stumbling block preventing the widespread use of viruses in battery construction is a lack of application. There currently aren't any devices that would require a battery roughly one tenth the width of a human hair, though future applications could see the technology being used in nanotechnology.
Anyone else see the plot for a bad B-movie shaping up?
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected:
You've been told money can't buy you love, but for $1,300, you can buy a Trojan guaranteed to screw the recipient without them ever knowing it's there. Apparently not completely fool proof, security company Prevx discovered the supposedly undetectable super virus now known as Limbo 2 and reports that hackers are selling custom variations of the Trojan. If a variation gets detected, the Trojan can be tweaked to fly under the radar without changing its payload.
Once infected, Limbo 2 not only logs your keystrokes, but it will set a trap by generating spoofed information boxes when victims navigate to certain login pages. Keystrokes, credit card information, and any other personal data it manages to harvest from the hard drive then gets transmitted back to Botnet Central.
These types of Trojans aren't new, but it's Limbo 2's speed and customization that has security vendors concerned. On a broader scale, it's all part of a seedy underground economy driven by stolen data. It's become so prevalent that hackers have had to lower prices and look for new types of stolen data to sell for bigger profits, including health care information and corporate emails.
You've seen the commercial and already know what brown can do for you, but you'll be red with rage if you fall for a new scam based on an old trick. On its website, UPS has posted a bulletin alerting customers that a fraudulent email claiming to be from UPS is making the rounds. The email implores recipients to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up, but the only thing being picked up by doing so is a nasty virus.
Maximum PC readers know full well to leave attachments alone, but if you're a frequent UPS customer, these types of scams can catch you off guard, particularly since UPS does, on occasion, send out official notifications that may include attachments. If in doubt, UPS is asking its customers to contact customerservice at ups dot com.
Script kiddies, move over. Now there's a toolkit that can turn any executable file into a worm, and it's so easy "even a caveman could do it." Find out what makes this new malware creation kit so scary, where it might have originated - and why.
The Register.co.uk website ('Biting the hand that feeds IT') isn't just an industry gadfly: concealed beneath its British-accented snark is a lot of useful news – including this report about a new malware-creation tool that's point-and-click easy.
You know that Microsoft never sends out email messages with links to Microsoft Update or Windows Update. Do your friends, family and co-workers know that? If they don't - be prepared to mop up the mess.