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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

September 13, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Microsoft battles virus that can lurk in brand new computers

Here’s an interesting read about Microsoft’s efforts to combat the Nitol botnet, which apparently can lurk in brand new computers.

From the Associated Press story:

A customer in Shenzhen, China, took a brand new laptop out of its box and booted it up for the first time. But as the screen lit up, the computer began taking on a life of its own. The machine, triggered by a virus hidden in its hard drive, began searching across the Internet for another computer.

The laptop, supposedly in pristine, super-fast, direct-from-the-factory condition, had instantly become part of an illegal, global network capable of attacking websites, looting bank accounts and stealing personal data.

For years, online investigators have warned consumers about the dangers of opening or downloading files emailed to them from unknown or suspicious sources. Now, they say malicious software and computer code could be lurking on computers before the bubble wrap even comes off.

The details come from a lawsuit Microsoft had filed in a federal court in Virginia against a web domain registered to a Chinese businessman named Peng Yong, according to the AP. The court records were unsealed last week.

Microsoft contends that the web domain “is home base for Nitol and more than 500 other types of malware, making it the largest single repository of infected software that Microsoft officials have ever encountered,” according to the AP, which said Peng denied Microsoft’s allegations.

Read the full story here.

And here’s Microsoft’s official comment on the matter, in which Richard Domingues Boscovich, MIcrosoft’s assistant general counsel for its Digital Crimes Unit, says the company has gained court permission to disrupt the botnet.

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