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AP via Huffington Post: Court records in a case brought by Microsoft against a Chinese-owned domain reveal that many PC customers are opening brand new laptops only to find them already infected with malware. Specifically, a virus called Nitol has been found on many PCs in China, the United States, Russia, Australia and Germany. Most of the infected systems were purchased from less reputable dealers and utilized counterfeit software, although the malware can also spread from PC to PC. Nitol-infected systems become part of a large botnot. However, thanks to the court case, Microsoft is now redirecting infected machines away from the command and control servers and alerting users about the malware.
Microsoft has also issued an alert to its supply chain partners to be on the lookout for Nitol and similar malware. “What’s especially disturbing 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,” said Microsoft's Richard Domingues Boscovich. “Given the security risks that malware infections can create, we also need suppliers, resellers, distributors and retailers in the supply chain to do their part in safeguarding people from harmful counterfeit software.”