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By | John Leyden 7th April 2008 18:00

HP Proliant USB key riddled with worms


HP Australia has warned that optional USB keys shipped with some of its Proliant servers are infected by malware.

A batch of 256MB and 1GB USB keys that ship with the servers are infected by the Fakerecy and SillyFDC viruses, it warns. The keys are involved in installing optional floppy-disc drives. It's unclear how many infected USB sticks were distributed.

Fakerecy and SillyFDC are both low-risk worms that spread by copying themselves onto removable media. The malware likely got onto Proliant USB disks via an infected machine in a factory rather than as some part of a targeted attack.

The incident isn't very threatening for at least a couple of reasons. For one thing the malware simply isn't potent enough to do anything useful from the point of view of hackers. Secondly, it's hard to believe that anything but a very small minority of shops would need to support floppy discs on Proliant servers, thereby risking exposure.

Nonetheless the incident illustrates the growing use of USB drives as a vector for viral infection. Previous incidents of infected devices coming out of the factory have cropped up infrequently over the last few months. To date these incidents have involved digital photo frames and the like.

Up to date anti-virus software would detect both the viruses involved in the Proliant USB attack. But that may not help in cases where security software is installed onto servers after floppy disc support is added. Disabling autorun thwarts both the Fakerecy and SillyFDC worms and may be the better option.

HP's advisory, via local security clearing house AUSCert, can be found here. The SANS Institutes's Internet Storm Centre has advice on avoiding USB malware-related peril here. @reg;

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