U.S. Official: Pre-infected Computer Technology Entering the Country

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U.S. Official: Pre-infected Computer Technology Entering the Country

Kevin R. Smith

For those of us knee-deep in the antivirus and anti-malware arenas, I'm sad to say this isn't a surprise, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make me mad.

In hearings with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Greg Schaffer, a Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Undersecretary (National Protection and Programs) was grilled on what going on and what's being done about it.

One Representative, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said,
...the issue of software infrastructure (and) hardware built overseas with items embedded in them already by the time they get to the United States... poses, obviously, security and intellectual property risks.

"A, is this happening, Mr. Schaffer? And, B, what are we going to do to fight back against this...

"Are you aware of any component software (or) hardware coming to the United States of America that already have security risks embedded into those components?
The answer:
I am aware that there have been instances where that has happened.
The good stuff starts around 52:00.

What do we do about it as consumers?

Clearly, this is a case where you can't expect the a government--not just the U.S., but all governments of the world--to ever be able to police this. Ever.

It's categorically impossible.

The onus is on y-o-u.

What you can and should do is protect your PC and the information as best you can. Hardware firewalls and routers can be great, but they're only part of the picture.

A software firewall and modern, up-to-date antivirus software are another huge part of it. Nothing is perfect, and no antivirus software will catch every piece of malware under the sun; however, the best antivirus software does at least give you a fighting chance.

Whether it's digital picture frames, USB-based battery chargers, or hardware routers, there are definitely several well-documented cases of hardware entering the U.S. and other countries with different types of viruses or other malware.

Here's an MSN link with a bit more info on the pre-infected computer technology.


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