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Asus admits Eee Box mini PC shipped with virus

Other regions as well as Japan affected?

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Asus has admitted that some of the its Eee Box desktop mini PCs have shipped with a virus.

But while the company has only admitted the infection was present in machines shipped to Japan, Register Hardware can confirm that other territories may be affected too.

According to an email sent out by Asus, PC Advisor reports, the Eee Box's 80GB hard drive has the recycled.exe virus files hidden in the drive's D: partition. When the drive is opened, the virus activates and attempts to infect the C: drive and an removable drives connected to the system.

According to Symantec, the malware is likely to be the W32/Usbalex worm, which creates an autorun.inf file to trigger recycled.exe from D:.

Separately, we've been testing the Eee Box this week, and discovered our review unit came loaded with the W32/Taterf worm - aka W32.Gammima.AG, aka kavo.exe malware that sniffs out online gaming usernames and passwords.

Fortunately, the infection was spotted and removed by Microsoft's most recent malware removal tool update.

Coincidence? That seems likely, given the different virus and the fact that the disk image used to prepare the Japanese Eee Boxes will almost certainly be different from the one used to image English-language product.

But at this stage it remains unclear whether the infection we found was present from the start, or accidentally added by a previous reviewer.

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