Free! Virus included.

An associated press article has recently been published regarding new, out-of-the-box gadgets from reputable stores that attempt to install a virus on your system when you plug them into your machine. The one documented case that they refer to is a particularly dangerous virus that attempts to steal your passwords. It is not clear whether this is a deliberate attempt to infect computers via a brand new gadget, or whether it is an honest mistake (i.e., one of the machines on the assembly line getting infected), but either way it is an ominous sign.

If it is indeed a deliberate attack, think of the consequences: hackers can pre-install viruses on the factory floor in China, then send any device (like digital picture frame, MP3 player, etc) to your home and infect your machine as soon as you plug it in and attempt to use it for the first time.

Many of you are aware that I am in the process of writing a book on Family Safety on the Internet. In that book, I talk about the reality of dangerous bits bombarding our home computers – pro actively coming at us from every angle. Pornographers, identity theives and hackers all attempting to gain access to our computers from the Internet. Now, we can
add a new attack method to the list – brand new, out of the box gadgets purchased from our favorite retail store.

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