Malware May Be Preinstalled On Your Computer

“For years, users have been blamed when malware infects their computers and repeatedly warned not to open attachments from unknown email senders or download software from dubious sources.  But a major manufacturer now says that malware sometimes is already preinstalled when purchasers first open the packaging of their new computers.”

Holy smokes!  This comes from a post today at the ABA Journal Law News Now.

The story continues:

A Thursday post on the Official Microsoft Blog blames what it calls a “broken” supply chain for infected computers on which malware has been installed, embedded in counterfeit versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system software.

“A supply chain between a manufacturer and a consumer becomes unsecure when a distributor or reseller receives or sells products from unknown or unauthorized sources,” the post says, explaining that cybercriminals have been able to infiltrate the retail market by offering below-cost, malware-infected products.

“What’s especially disturbing,” the post continues, “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.”

So what to do? Certified smart folks will likely have some recommendations.  My first thought?  Have an anti-malware, anti-virus product in hand and ready to install the second you break open the packaging of your new computer.  (You may want more than one!) After installation force an update of the virus/malware/spyware definitions or verify the program has run an update.  Next, run a full scan of your computer.  When you’re done, get on Twitter and follow Peter Porcaro (@PorcaroLaw) who picked up and tweeted this story.  Thank you Peter!

For security tips and software suggestions check out the following:

Gift Ideas for the Lawyers on Your List

Here are some excellent ideas for the lawyers on your gift list from fellow law practice management advisor Diane Ebersole of the State Bar of Michigan:

Jim Calloway and Sharon Nelson have created the 49th edition of the Digital Edge podcast in the gift giving spirit of December.  The lively banter discusses a wide variety of tech items and gadgets both useful and fun in a wide price range that may help you with your December purchases.  In addition to their podcast, the list of show notes provides a links of all the items discussed. 

Reid Trautz, Chair of ABA Techshow 2012, has also issued his annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers.  This list also provides some product comparisons and purchase advice.  If you are looking for gifts in the productivity, food or just plain fun categories, check out Reid’s list for some great ideas. 

One more excellent list which provides a compilation of shopping ideas is Attention, Shoppers: A Lawyer’s Gift Guide from the folks at Attorney At Work.  In addition to looking at the list, take a minute to read some of the posts on this site whose motto is ‘one really good idea every day.’ 

Thank you Diane!