Unfortunately, according to Microsoft USENET Newsgroups, some brand new PCs, particularly in China, have come preinstalled with a virus. The Nitol virus was introduced to new computers between somewhere in the supply chain before they were purchased by consumers.
Through Microsoft’s investigation, codenamed Operation b70, the company found that some retailers had loaded a counterfeit version of Windows software that contained the malware. Microsoft warned in its blog post that the malware could send fake email messages or post to social media from the victim’s accounts to infect others to whom the emails were sent or who accessed the messages via the victim’s social media accounts.
The company warned that consumers should be wary of deals that seem “too good to be true.” Still, some consumers may have purchased infected computers from retailers that seemed perfectly legitimate. The investigators found that one in five of the computers that were purchased from an “unsecured supply chain were infected with malware.” According to PCWorld.com, about 85% of the computers infected with the Nitol virus were found in China, while about 10% were found in the United States.
Perhaps most scary, the researchers found additional strains of malware, some of which was capable of turning on the microphone and camera of an infected computer. Some was even capable of recording the keystrokes made into an infected computer, according to the company’s researchers.
While some victims who purchased infected computers may have had no way of knowing that the computer was infected, the revelations should come as a reminder of the importance of cyber security. Microsoft notes that consumers should demand that they be provided non-counterfeit products from any resellers.
For a discussion about cyber security, head over to the relevant Usenet newsgroups. Usenet is full of tech professionals and enthusiasts who probably don’t mind answering your questions or having a more detailed discussion of the issue.