Malware-infected flash cards shipped out with HP switches
Vendor fields ProCurveBall
HP has sent out a warning to customers after the vendor found out it had inadvertently been shipping virus-laden compact flash cards with its networking kit.
The unnamed malware appeared on flash cards that came bundled with HP ProCurve 5400zl switches. The flash card wouldn't do anything on the switch itself but "reuse of an infected compact flash card in a personal computer could result in a compromise of that system's integrity," HP warned in a bulletin issued on Tuesday.
"There is an irony that a major selling point of the ProCurve switches is its virus-throttling capability," notes Reg reader Kevin L, one of a number of readers who told us about the HP snafu. "Pity they couldn't throttle it in manufacture," he added.
It's unclear how the unknown malware got onto the Flash cards that come bundled with the 10 Gbps-capable line of LAN switches, but an infected computer somewhere in the manufacturing process – possible in a factory run by a third-party supplier – is the most obvious suspect.
These kind of problems are rare but not unprecedented and really only cause significant problems when a particular aggressively spreading or destructive strain of malware is involved, as was the case when the FunLove virus infected machines in a Dell factory a few years back in 1999. HP is not unacquainted with this type of problem. HP distributed printer drivers corrupted by FunLove after malware-ladened files were uploaded to its website back in 2001.
The latest incident is more like a case from 2008, when HP Australia warned that optional USB keys shipped with some of its ProLiant servers were infected by malware. A batch of 256MB and 1GB USB keys that shipped with the servers were infected by the Fakerecy and SillyFDC, both low-risk strains of malware. ®
Since they come with lifetime warranties, try to get them replaced. No maintenance contract required for that (listening, Cisco?).
Remember the TomTom virus debacle?
In 2006-2007, TomTom shipped a load of satnavs with an Autorun virus on the flash, that could infect your PC if it had Autorun enabled.
The one I had didn't have a virus on it, but I had to get it fixed under guarantee - and it came back with a virus!. Evidently the PCs in their repair centre were all infected.
It also came with beta firmware on it. Sigh.
No such problems here. 100% reliability (displacing Netgear, which was going badly downhill). That said, without knowing exactly which model in the ProCurve range, it's comparing oranges with apples. Are you completely sure that the problem is not with your electricity supply? Nothing likes being subjected to high-voltage spikes and surges. I've seen a router with its chips physically exploded after a thunderstorm. A lesser spike may just fry their innards.