It was discovered that a Microsoft factory in China was pre-installing viruses through malware, or malicious software, during the manufacture process. Among this malware was a variety that extracted bank account information from network banks.

Malware is a general term used to describe any kind of hostile, intrusive or annoying software.  It includes any kind of software produced to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.  Some malware is used officially by companies with additional tracking software in a harmless way to gather marketing statistics.

Testing of PC shipments from the factory earlier this month uncovered that the amount of malware was double what was expected. In order to grasp the extent of the contamination, an investigation called ‘Operation b70’ was set into motion.

The pre-installed malware that was discovered was called Nitol, which allowed for remote video and audio control of the infected PC.  Nitrol is activated as soon as the computer is turned on, granting access to information from the computer.

Also installed was software that can trace keyboard activity and cover up its attack so that it goes undetected.

Usually infection from viruses and malware occur through an internet connection and can be protected by firewalls.  But those firewalls become useless if the malware is installed during production before shipping.

Source: Tax-hoken news