New Netbook Ships, Preloaded with Factory Malware

Dennis Faas's picture

Kapersky Labs recently took a new, out-of-the-box M&A Companion Touch netbook out for testing, only to find three pieces of factory installed malware. Kaspersky discovered the malware when they installed their recently-released Security for Ultra Portables on the $499 netbook designed for the school market.

Roel Schouwenberg, a senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Labs, said the malware appears to have been installed by the factory, since the netbook was brand new and still in its original packaging.

After doing a little more digging, Schouwenberg was able to find multiple Windows system restore points indicating that the machine had been updated with new drivers or had software installed before leaving the factory. (Source:

Malware Included Rootkit, Password Stealer

The AutoRun worm, which spreads via infected USB flash drives, was among the three pieces of malware found on the netbook. Apparently a USB stick that was used to install drivers onto the machine was responsible for the infection.

The infection on the netbook resulted in having a rootkit and password stealer on top of the AutoRun worm.

Factory direct computer malware infections are rare, but Schouwenberg recommended installing security software, updating it by downloading the latest definition file on another computer and transferring the update to the new system and running a full antivirus scan before connecting a new machine to the Internet. (Source:

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