The Japanese distributor for Asus has found that a virus has been shipped with the company’s new Eee Box PCs. The virus, called recycled.exe, is found on the D: drive of the new low cost desktop PC, which launched last week. When opened, it copies itself to the C: drive and any removable storage device attached to the PC and disables any anti-virus programs it finds.
It also accesses the users address book and sends itself to everyone in it, visits web pages without the user knowing, disables processes, the Task Manager, the Windows Registry Editor and File Protection system, modifies Windows Security Policies, sends information back to its host (which is presumably a botnet) and more.
Unfortunately, Asus has refused to confirm whether the infection is limited only to the Japanese Eee Box PCs nor has it explained how the virus got on them in the first place. This is disappointing and a potential PR disaster for the manufacturer credited with the creating of the mini-laptop craze.
Its Eee PCs are still top sellers and have been joined with similar offerings from HP, Acer, and Dell among others. With the current economic forecast filled with gloom and doom, consumers will be extra careful where they spend their money this holiday season. Asus needs to get on the ball and fast. They need to find out how widespread the issue is and come up with a plan to fix it for affected customers. Short of a unit that’s DOA, I can’t think of anything worse than setting up a brand new computer and finding it infected with malware!
By the way, if you happen to have one of the Box PCs, keep it off the internet and disable all network connections until you’re sure it’s virus free. Better safe than sorry.