Earlier this year, it was revealed that computers being sold in China were becoming infected with malware. This normally wouldn’t be a big deal – after all, most computers get infected with viruses at some point in their lifespan. However, the problem with the Chinese case is that Windows computers were being infected with viruses and malware before they even left the factory.
In other words, consumers in China were paying hundreds – even thousands – of dollars for new computers, only to fire them up and find them locked by malware. Once the computers were activated, they attempted to join a massive botnet, which is a network of infected computers that can be used to help hackers execute whatever actions they’re trying to perform.
The day-one malware also allowed hackers to turn on laptop webcams and record audio conversations, making the consequences truly frightening for consumers. Since most people don’t expect to find a virus pre-installed on their brand new computers, the element of surprise was on the hackers’ side.
Microsoft wins court verdict
Fortunately, on Friday, September 14, Microsoft was awarded to right to go after these hackers. Since the Chinese government didn’t want to step in on the issue, Microsoft took the issue to court. Microsoft fought for the right to take down a website called 3322.org, which was hosting the malware that was being found on brand-new PCs.
Although the good guys came out on top in this case, it’s only a matter of time before another group of hackers finds a way to pre-install viruses on computers before they even leave the factory. Remember: you can never be too careful with PC security. Unless you want your brand-new laptop watching you as you turn your computer on for the first time, it’s best to install antivirus software as soon as possible.
Or, just avoid buying computers from China.