IBM hands out malware

IBM hands out malware

IBM's free flash drives - handed out to visitors at the AusCERT conference - came with an added bonus: worms.

IBM has failed to endear itself to the worlds' press after a publicity stunt went wrong and saw the company handing out promotional USB flash drives with an added bonus: a pair of nasty worms.

As reported over on IT PRO, IBM made the embarrassing gaffe during the AusCERT computer security conference in Australia where it handed freebie USB memory sticks to press and industry contacts - not realising that at some point during their production a pair of worms had found their way on board.

After the conference, IBM sent an e-mail to attendees warning them that the company "discovered that some of these USB keys contained malware and we suspect that all USB keys may be affected" and advising recipients to return their devices to IBM's Australia headquarters as soon as possible.

The two worms - W32/LibHack-A and W32/Agent-FWF - have been identified by Sophos' Graham Cluley as being capable of launching "when inserted into a computer if autorun/autoplay is enabled" - potentially infecting Windows-based systems without further user interaction.

So far IBM hasn't offered an explanation of how the malware found its way onto the complimentary gifts - but to distribute worms at a security conference must rank as one of the biggest PR gaffes of all time.

Are you shocked to see IBM making such a serious blunder - and at a security conference, of all places - or is this the sort of mishap that can befall any company? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 25th May 2010, 10:19 Quote
Ouch. Egg on face to the max.

A clever PR person would switch that around and highlight the fact that nothing should be trusted. :p
Arj12 25th May 2010, 10:20 Quote
Hahahaha! Big screw up! I have no idea how people can manage to do this! Especially in big companies like IBM!
phantombudgie 25th May 2010, 10:22 Quote
*spill coffee across keyboard*
*search for new keyboard on other side of office*
*post lols*

proxess 25th May 2010, 10:23 Quote
I couldn't help but lol after reading "added bonus: worms" and think of people going out to the pharmacy to buy worms medicine.
mi1ez 25th May 2010, 10:40 Quote
Added bonus: Worms Armagedden
BlackMage23 25th May 2010, 10:49 Quote
You would expect this to be the one place where everyone would scan stuff for viruses.
Phalanx 25th May 2010, 11:02 Quote
First article I've read that caused me to laugh out loud in the office. It's now making the rounds ;) Well done IBM!
deathtaker27 25th May 2010, 12:24 Quote
so how many security expert's computers now have a virus do you think?
tristanperry 25th May 2010, 12:26 Quote

Seriously, that takes some doing :)

Handing out malware (in the form of freebies) at a security convention is pretty epic ;)
shadows 25th May 2010, 12:39 Quote
Never trust anything! Either someone at IBM had alot of time on their hands or the USB sticks were pre planted with the virus.
Sim0n 25th May 2010, 12:39 Quote
Old news :P , thereg reported on this last friday morning :
MiT 25th May 2010, 13:15 Quote
rickysio 25th May 2010, 14:33 Quote
And if it infected one of these supposed security expert's computer... ;)
Psytek 25th May 2010, 18:00 Quote
Anyone in the security industry who uses windows shouldn't have been there in the first place.
And they should also know about this type of thing... my 13 year old cousin could set up a usb hacksaw with about 100 worms, trojans and viruses on it ...
liratheal 25th May 2010, 18:10 Quote
It could have been a stunt, demonstrating the weakness of "free" computer peripherals?

It was probably a cock up, but hey.
mecblade 26th May 2010, 16:18 Quote
"AusCERT-goers get bonus malware gift"

I couldnt stop laughing about this! also psytech, ill buy one of you for £3 :D

seriously, IBM, with all its might couldnt even stop worms from getting into their USB Sticks
mecblade 26th May 2010, 16:26 Quote
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