Microsoft issues warning over malware entering supply chain

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Channel needs to keep watch for dodgy deals

Microsoft has issued a warning to its channel after finding computers using Windows are infected with malware.

The software firm said that it had managed to cause major disruption to a malware supported botnet which had made its way onto machines before they reached customers.

Microsoft said that the emerging Nitol botnet had been taking hold of computers by infecting hardware through ‘unsecured’ supply chains, and then spreading to other computers in the network the PC was set up.

In the investigation, dubbed Operation b70, Microsoft found that when distributors and resellers received and sold products from unauthorised sources there was a risk that it could either be counterfeit software installed or preloaded with malware.  The study showed that around 20 percent of software derived from unauthorised sources had malware installed.

In a blog post Microsoft made an appeal to its own channel to keep watch for dodgy products entering the supply chain:

“What’s especially disturbing is that the counterfeit software embedded with malware could have entered the chain at any point as a computer travels among companies that transport and resell the computer,” Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, said. “Given the security risks that malware infections can create, we also need suppliers, resellers, distributors and retailers in the supply chain to do their part in safeguarding people from harmful counterfeit software.”

One Microsoft reseller t0ld ChannelBiz UK that it had not had problems with malware entering the supply chain in this way and that those who bought from reputable distributors were less likely to have been affected.

“There wouldn’t be the opportunity for it to happen, it shouldn’t be a problem for the main Microsoft resellers, the systems that they have in place are there to avoid that happening,” ChannelBiz UK heard.


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