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