HP ships infected USB keys

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Apr 9, 2008

Autorun worms found on batch of server setup devices.

A batch of USB thumb drives containing software intended to assist in the setup of servers have been found to contain some nasty extras, in the shape of worms using the autorun feature to infect systems connected to the removable devices. The drives were shipped to Australian customers of hardware and software giant HP along with the Proliant server range.

The USB drives provided software used in the setup of floppy drives on the servers, but also risked infecting unwary users with the W32/SillyFDC and W32/Fakerecy worms, according to an alert issued by AusCERT. Commentators have suggested that the risk of infection may be minimal, thanks to limited requirements for floppy drives in modern servers, but recycling of such devices is common and the incident also indicates further serious security gaps in production processes regarding removable hardware, after numerous similar problems in recent months involving hard drives, MP3 players, digital photo frames and other devices.

'This is a worrying security lapse, especially as it comes from a major global brand with huge resources,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'Production and release procedures at all serious companies should be locked down tight to prevent this kind of thing - if we can't trust the big boys to keep their systems clean, who can we trust?'

A recent report from ESET highlighted the growth in the use of the autorun feature for malware spreading, with autorun-related .INF files topping their malware prevalence charts for March by some distance - the report (in PDF format) is here. The AusCERT alert on the HP USB key incident can be found here, with more commentary and debate at The Register here.

All Windows users are advised to disable the default autorun settings if possible - step-by-step instructions can be found at about.com here.

Posted on 9 April 2008 by Virus Bulletin



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