Computers Coming with Pre-Installed Malware?

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Are computers coming with pre-installed viruses before consumers actually get their hands on the systems? That idea was alluded upon in a new report unveiled by Windows creator Microsoft on Wednesday.

While the company’s analysis focused on malware known as Nitol, the prospect of attackers infecting computers still in factories draws new concerns.

To conduct its investigation, the company’s Digital Crimes Unit purchased a variety of computers (20) from China, one of which came already infected the Nitol. Meanwhile, three others had other forms of malware including Trafog, EggDrop and Malat.

Nitol, according to a BBC report, providers cyber criminals with unauthorized access to bank accounts of unsuspecting users.

“The computer that contained the Nitol virus was the only one that was actively running and had attempted to connect to a command and control (C&C) server. Because of this activity, DCU’s researchers primarily focused its study on Nitol, looking at its behavior, telemetry, and network behavior following the study,” commented Microsoft in its report.

Microsoft noted that some computers in supply chains came with counterfeit versions of Windows installed. “A supply chain between a manufacturer and a consumer becomes unsecure when a distributor or reseller receives or sells products from unknown or unauthorized sources,” said the said the company in a separate blog post. Microsoft’s findings allowed the company to disrupt further malware efforts through the approval of a U.S. district court.

Malware and virus concerns have increasingly dominated tech headlines, especially within the past year. Microsoft will debut its highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system next month.