Hackers have managed to install malware on to brand new factory built and sealed PCs. This brings a whole new meaning to the old term “All Your PCs are belong to us!”
Microsoft is warning that cybercriminal gangs have managed to get the Nitol bug and other dangerous malware software installed to one in five laptops and PCs checked by their investigators. To avoid any confusion, it should be noted that reputable vendors such as Dell, HP etc. are not affected by this.
The malware installed could give the criminals control of the computers, allowing them to watch every tap of the keyboard to steal personal information including your name, address, details of any holidays and credit card information – whether it’s going down an encrypted channel or not.
“We found malware capable of remotely turning on an infected computer’s microphone and video camera, potentially giving a criminal eyes and ears into a vicitm’s home or place of business,” reported Microsoft investigator Richard Dormingues Boscovich.
The Nitol bug has the potential for the most damage as it tries to link the PC to a botnet which criminals can use for hacking attacks, deliberately crashing servers or performing illegal activities under the IP Address of an unknowing user.
Microsoft discovered the bugs in laptop and desktop PCs purchased in cities around China. Four of the computers were infected with malware despite being new and factory sealed.
Investigations led them to a domain name which is alleged to have been involved in cybercrime since 2008. Microsoft have been granted permission to take over the domain name and close down the botnet.
“Cybercriminals have made it clear that anyone with a computer could become an unwitting mule for malware,” said Mr Boscovich.
So if you’re planning a trip to China then be safe and purchase your computer back home before travelling, and even then give it a good anti virus scan!