Monday, December 29, 2008

That was fast

Seems Walmart is selling some tricked out digital photo frames (you know, you upload your digital pix to it, and it displays them). Seems it comes with some complimentary software.


No extra charge, folks.

Now why would someone want to do that?

The Fine Print®:

It may be that this is not malware, but rather, the software was packaged with software that is often used to pack up malware. In other words, the antivirus software recognizes signs of the packer, rather than malware per se.

It doesn't matter one bit. This was clearly not tested with antivirus scanners, which means that the manufacturer doesn't care whether you get infected with actual malware. Seems that WalMart doesn't care, either. This sort of test isn't exactly rocket science.


Sevesteen said...

I don't think that is fair--It is quite possible it was checked with one of the scanners that doesn't false-positive on this, and no problem was found. It isn't reasonable to expect them to scan with every brand of virus scanner.

Borepatch said...

Sevesteen, the issue is brand damage. Technically, you may be right, and running it by one or two antivirus engines should be fine.

The problem is that since other companies have been caught unknowingly shipping malware on these sort of devices, you need to do more than the bare minimum.

Personally, I'd run one of the market leaders (Symantec, McAfee, or Trend), one of the well-regarded tier-two scanners (Sophos, Panda, or F-Secure), and one of the technical leaders (Kaspersky or Eset). There's no reason that your test procedures couldn't be automated, and it would take essentially no longer to run three than to run one.

I'd also make sure that I package any software with InstallShield or MSI, since they're not used by malware.

All of this would raise my costs a small amount, but it would pretty well preclude the possibility of this sort of bad PR.

Once the first company in the industry gets caught shipping malware, the game changes. Until then, you can get away with getting away. After than, it's "fool me twice, shame on me."

Your mileage may vary.