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iPods Come Complete With Windows Virus 672

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the nyah-nyah dept.
kaufmanmoore writes "Cnet is reporting that some video Ipods made after September 12th have the RavMonE virus loaded onto it. In Apple's announcement they take a swipe at Windows security and encourage Windows users to install anti virus applications."
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iPods Come Complete With Windows Virus

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  • Just goes to show. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanami AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:31PM (#16477971) Journal
    Apple's products are made (and to some degree, designed) in China just like everybody else's. I wonder how many other memory products (that is, USB mass storage devices) have similar issues.
    • Also shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:37PM (#16478063)
      The class of Apple to complain about Windows being susceptible to viruses that Apple Quality Control fails to catch. Maybe Apple QC should install AV as well when they develop for windows?
      • Re:Also shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by udderly (890305) * on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:52PM (#16478285)
        Why is this a troll? I'm a serious Mac fan, but that little "jab at Microsoft" *was* pretty classless.

        WARNING: OBLIGATORY CAR ANALOGY!!!
        When I was a kid we were firing a golf ball out of homemade cannon and broke the neighbor's windshield. Crap, what was I thinking? I should have blamed Ford for not making their windshields stronger!
      • Re:Also shows... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:05PM (#16478461)
        "Maybe Apple QC should install AV as well when they develop for windows?"

        I heard (from a reliable source inside Apple) that the virus was preinstalled from the disk manufacturer when they formatted the drives. *shudder* You can see where this can go.

      • Re:Also shows... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:20PM (#16478637) Journal
        The problem happened, because Apple's assembly contractors used Windows machines in their production process. Clearly, this is not a wise choice from a security standpoint, and I would expect Apple to insist on replacing those machines with Macs or Linux hosts.

        -jcr
        • Re:Also shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Trillan (597339) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:02PM (#16479141) Homepage Journal
          Honestly, it probably should be an embedded system (running Linux, if you like) without a GUI or any other possible way for people on the line to wreck it.
          • Re:Also shows... (Score:4, Informative)

            by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @09:32PM (#16479455) Homepage
            That's not how manufacturing works at all in the real world. Most initialisation of such devices is done using Windows machines.

            However, they shouldn't be writing files to a filesystem to initialise the devices, they should be writing a version-controlled quality-controlled filesystem itself. And there's no point blaming the Chinese contractor, I'm sure they were just following the Apple procedure, sloppy as it is.
            • Re:Also shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by NixLuver (693391) <stwhite@@@kcheretic...com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:21PM (#16479913) Homepage Journal
              "And there's no point blaming the Chinese contractor, I'm sure they were just following the Apple procedure, sloppy as it is."

              What do you base this assertion on? How do you know how 'sloppy' the Apple procedure is?

              Many are lambasting Apple because they didn't test every vendor-supplied microdrive for *windows* viruses/virii. They sold 7.7 million ipods, as I understand it. If we grant 'em 10 seconds to hook the drive up and test it - even automated; remember, these drives aren't exactly fast - that's 891 additional days added to that manufacturing model.

              I'm not sure I believe that Apple should necessarily be responsible for a chinese manufacturer's choice of operating system for their production line.

              In fact, in response to the many assertions that Windows is the pre-eminent choice in production line systems... I find it difficult to believe; in my direct experience with seven major production systems and indirect with ten or twelve, only two used Windows, and of them had as their purpose was directly testing production of Windows based computers. A pharmaceutical company I'm familiar with uses HP clusters; a local utility recently switched from SCO to Linux ( I love saying that! ); A PCB assembly machine I dealt with had embedded a BSD variant. A plastics manufacturer I'm familiar with uses Linux and DOS (!) because the hardware manufacturer doesn't want to fix something that's "not broken". I've never even *heard* of Windows being used in production systems anywhere but plants that produce Windows computers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pilgrim23 (716938)
      Mac Windows blah blah... the REAL question to me is how did it get there? as you point out, made in China. Think this one through in terms of balance of trade, marketing and manufacturing clout, and future product deals. Could this have been a feeler on how to inject another and even more disturbing piece of code into the infustructure? Or, mayhaps I am just too cynical...
  • Good job, Jobs! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996)
    Now I come to think about the PC guy in the Mac commercials who whines about viruses on Windows systems. Steve Jobs is so keen on pointing out that Mac is free from viruses (and Windows is not), but this blunder has got to shut him up about that for a while.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sl3xd (111641) *
      You realize that the virus does nothing on a Mac, right? To a mac, it's just a file.

      To Windows, it's a virus.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vexorian (959249)
        I would worry still cause this also means that they have a really low quality control.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Darundal (891860)
      How should this shut him up? Did you even RTFM? The virus was due to the iPods being processed through a single machine running Windows...nothing about a mac being infected at all, or any flaws in mac security...
    • by Salvance (1014001) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:07PM (#16478475) Homepage Journal
      So now Apple needs a commercial where the Mac guy is picking up biohazardous waste while wearing a virus-proof bunny suit and "accidentally" spilling it on the PC guy who's just laying there in his beach clothes enjoying himself.
    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:23PM (#16478687)

      Next PC vs Mac commercial, the Apple version:

      PC is wearing a "boy in the plastic bubble" suit, wandering around with a bottle of Formula 409, obsessively wiping down everything he sees. Mac casually strolls up from behind and taps PC on the shoulder of his bubble suit. PC shrieks and starts spraying and wiping the suit. Mac asks what's up, PC starts babbling "Viruses...viruses are everywhere. Anything I touch might kill me. Never clean enough...never...clean...enough". Mac sadly shakes his head and wanders off.

      Next PC vs Mac commercial, the Microsoft version:

      Mac walks over to PC and offers to let PC listen to Mac's iPod. PC puts on the headset, starts tapping his feet and snapping his fingers, then suddenly flops onto his back, goes into convulsions, and dies. Mac slinks off the stage, looking embarassed and guilty. James Earl Jones voiceover grimly intones "iPods kill - buy a Zune".

  • Come again?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bladesjester (774793)
    Apple is selling ipods with a virus on them and they're taking it as an opportunity to bash Microsoft??

    I'm sorry, but that just seems ass backwards to me. This one is not Microsoft's fault, and I hope people realize that.
    • Re:Come again?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by denebian devil (944045) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:47PM (#16478225)
      Not only that, since the problem was "traced to a particular Windows machine in the manufacturing lines of a contract manufacturer that builds the iPods for Apple," I would think that if they're going to talk so high-and-mighty against Windows that they would be smart enough not to use Windows as part of their manufacturing process.

      Seems like just another bad attempt at deflection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuantumG (50515)
        Yeah, it's kinda funny that Macs are still not certified for use in manufacturing processes.
    • Re:Come again?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr_matticus (928346) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:49PM (#16478249)
      They didn't blame Microsoft for their failure to stop the iPods from shipping, but there is a certain element to truth to the statement. If you take away the fact that Apple is involved and look at it--a technology product was infected with malware because a Windows PC on the production line was infected and it wasn't caught in time.

      The number of Windows machines on production lines in China is staggering--and if Windows had better security, the spread of viruses and malware wouldn't represent such a massive threat. Simple acts like requesting permission to install new software, etc. would go a long way toward cutting this off. Windows, left to its own devices, happily installs crapware without user intervention or notification, and that makes it harder to KNOW when your computer has been compromised.

      So yeah, Microsoft is dumb in this capacity, but it's still Apple's responsibility.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Windows can be pretty secure when you take the proper precautions. When you're running it in a production environment, producing media that will be put into the computers of others, then you have to make sure you take the proper precautions. The proper precautions here doesn't even need to be install antivirus. What it needs to be, is don't have the machines hooked up to the internet, and don't hook them up unguarded to the company intranet. Don't turn autorun on, and don't have employees checking their
    • Re:Come again?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by flithm (756019) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:55PM (#16478319) Homepage
      I agree with you, although... I have to wonder, how did it get on the iPod in the first place? If you look at the W32/Rjump worm [nai.com] you can see that it spreads itself by copying itself to mounted removeable storage drives.

      Perhaps someone tested a prototype on an infected windows machine, to make sure some minor manufacturing change didn't bork the device. Then after working on it a bit they got it to work, copied the image over, and all of a sudden you have iPods being pumped out of the factor with a virus on them. Clearly just a guess, but if something similar to that happened and I was Apple I'd sure as hell be pissed that Windows lack of security caused my hardware devices to get factory shipped with a virus on them.

      Note that this scenario is supported by TFA: "Joswiak said it was traced to a particular Windows machine in the manufacturing lines of a contract manufacturer that builds the iPods for Apple."

      In that context, Apple has every right to be irritated. Either way though you're right, it's a pretty stupid PR move to make a comment like that. They should just apologize, fix the problem, and move on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ben there... (946946)
        Imagine a bank saying "Whoops! We lost all your money. It's the Windows ATMs we use. They're to blame for this." Rather than accepting responsibility for their processes and systems being faulty.

        You wouldn't think very highly of that bank that chose an OS that probably wasn't best suited to the job, didn't bother to secure it, then didn't even bother to have the QA processes in place to catch it when something seriously goes wrong. And yet they're blaming the supplier of the OS they chose to use on the prod
  • Uhh, What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aweraw (557447) * <aweraw@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:33PM (#16477997) Homepage Journal
    I'm not one to try and defend Windows security with a straight face, but this is apples fault for shipping infected ipods. They failed to protect their customers, regardless of windows lack-lustre security
  • Windows Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:33PM (#16478001) Journal
    If I just distributed a device with a virus on it I would not be throwing stones at the security practices of another company.
  • by Duk (26306) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:33PM (#16478009) Journal
    From the site (emphasis mine):
    As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.

    Wow...trying to deflect some of the blame, huh?

  • secret weapon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wardk (3037) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:34PM (#16478031) Journal
    and this is why in the long run, apple wins? Simply because MS can't do anything like this back to Apple.

    those apple people are genius'
    • Re:secret weapon (Score:4, Informative)

      by nwbvt (768631) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:05PM (#16478453)

      "Simply because MS can't do anything like this back to Apple."

      Sure they can. Ship a version of MS Word with a virus embedded that targets Macs (yes they do exist, though the small market share makes them much less common). And if they are willing to bring back the Mac Internet Explorer, they can 'accidentally' leave open a security flaw that allows even more viruses in.

      I think MS wins hands down as one of Apple's main selling points is that fewer viruses are written for Macs than for Windows. But the more stories that break that include the words "Apple" and "Virus" in the headline, fewer people will believe that and just stick with Windows (yes we can hold out hope that they will move to Linux, but I wouldn't bet on it).

  • The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that this was not "accidental" and is simply Apple's way of grandstanding on the topic of Windows security.

    While I realize this was just an accident, there are probably conspiracy theorist wack jobs out there that are formulating a hypothesis that the second gunman in the grassy knoll was programed to kill JFK through a virus implanted on his iPod that induces hypnontic suggestion and time travel.
  • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:39PM (#16478099)
    "it was traced to a particular Windows machine in the manufacturing lines of a contract manufacturer " and "Very few units actually went through that particular station"

    Why is a Windows machine ever connected to an iPod during manufacturing? I'd think for a high volume product like the iPod, there would be dedicated disk duplicators to format/populate the drives, and testing would likewise be done with purpose-designed hardware. Using a Windows PC to do either seems like a crude, inefficient way to do things.
    • Some Windows PC needs to make the initial disk image for Windows-formatted iPods. This one was either compromized or deliberately planted the virus. I'm betting on the former, but this is in China, after all.
    • Labor saving devices like you describe mean nothing in a country where you can pay someone 5 cents an hour to do the grunt work of duplicating and checking disks.
    • by Adam9 (93947) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:57PM (#16478361) Journal
      QA?
    • by wetpantsclub (1009251) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:11PM (#16478511)
      They would use Macs but they are too expensive. ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Some of my clients are manufacturers of electronic control devices. Nearly all of the testing machines are run by commodity PCs, either Windows or Linux - usually Windows. Years ago, they did use purpose built computers, however, the price of PCs has plunged relative to the alternatives.
    • by Moraelin (679338)
      Dunno about Apple, but if I were mass producing those things, I would _not_ build the thing empty, connect it to a Mac by hand, transfer the stuff to it slowly via Firewire, etc. That kind of "let's connect a cable, launch this handy application and click here to transfer the files" is ok for a mom-and-pop shop, but when you're mass producing stuff you just want to shave the last penny off the manufacturing costs.

      So the way it's done is you take the working prototype, make an image of its hard drive, and wr
  • Upset with Windows? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by entrylevel (559061)
    As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.

    I own an iBook. The Apple IIe was my first computer (unless you count a breadboard, some dip switches, and two numeric LED displays). I own Apple stock. I think Mac OS X is the bees knees.

    That said, Apple needs to take their collective heads out of their asses. If an executable shell script was "accidentally" included as simple as:

    #!/bin/sh
    rm -rf /

    You need to ma
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:06PM (#16478467)
      There is no such thing as autorun on OS X. If you really have managed to get a script to run automatically as soon as the volume that contains it is mounted, you are exploting a bug somewhere. Please file a bug report.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by entrylevel (559061)
        I'm sorry, you are absolutely correct. I had this set up for so long I forgot what I did: Folder Actions. My face is red!

        I still think the thinly-veiled insult is uncalled for when Apple directly creates a security risk.
    • by mincognito (839071) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:18PM (#16478607)
      Your script will not propogate itself; will not use up my computer's resources; will not open a backdoor to allow others access to my information, bandwidth and/or processor cycles. How come people always cite an unintended "rm -rf /" as the most terrifying and catostrophic event ever? I backup my data. I'd rather suffer your script than have an undetected MS virus, worm or rootkit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by prockcore (543967)

        Your script will not propogate itself

        His wont, but there's nothing special about the MachO file format that prevents viruses from hooking themselves onto the front of an application.

        Let me put it this way, every single application inside your Applications folder can be modified by the primary user without any password dialogs or anything.

        It is very possible to write a virus, attach to some shareware program, and when you ran it, it would infect every OSX application you have installed. Then everytime you r

  • by BeeBeard (999187) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:42PM (#16478129)
    From the article:

    "As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," Apple said on its site.
    (emphasis added)

    It's nice that they're "upset with themselves for not catching it" in the last part of that statement, but what's that first part in bold all about? Oh yeah, it's the part where they shirk complete responsibility for this by half-blaming Microsoft for the virus Apple introduced in its own hardware. It's the most half-assed way of apologizing imaginable.

    In other news, rapists who blame their victims will now be in charge of issuing Apple's PR statements on their website.
  • by mithran8 (186371) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:46PM (#16478205) Homepage
    What I find interesting is the potential for this type of distribution to be the vector for a zero-day exploit.

    Imagine the scenario: an unscrupulous individual happens across an unannounced vulnerability, and develops an exploit. Rather than building it into a worm/botnet replication mechanism, he finds a way to load it onto a consumer electronics device (mp3 player, flash drive, camera, etc) and lets the well-established merchandise distribution network take it from there. Weeks/months later, at a predetermined time, an attack can be launched simultaneously from hundreds/thousands of locations, and we have a nasty problem on our hands.
  • load of crap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bonewalker (631203)
    Jeez, Apple does things so much better and so much more secure than Windows.

    Cue the wavy-dream-sequence-announcing-television animation....

    Somehow, in an economic fluke, the Apple II flourishes and paves the way for a GUI operating system code-named..OS I. Incredibly, as years go by, Microsoft remains a niche player in the market, known mostly for its creative pieces of software, and Apple owns 98% of the desktop scene.

    Even more incredible is how much smarter the Apple devs are than any alternate univ

  • by ChodeMaster (773739) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:01PM (#16478405)
    If apple are going to make products for use with windows, then it is their responsibility to ensure that those products don't contain virii for windows systems. Suggesting that the virus being present in their product that they're shipping (regardless of the susceptibility of Windows to that virus) is the fault of Microsoft is passing the buck in a most horrible way.

    The simple fact is that they choose to make their device work with Microsoft Windows systems, and they are damned sure responsible for ensuring that their device will not cause problems with those systems, regardless of the flaws or vulnerabilities of Microsoft systems.

    I quite like Mac hardware and software, and have previously been glad that they may be gaining market share, but frankly if they are going to continue to market themselves by making stabs at Microsoft (and no I'm not suggesting the virus was placed intentionally), rather than by marketing their products' strengths and features, I'm not so sure I will continue to feel the same way.
  • Fair's fair (Score:3, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @08:47PM (#16478975)

    Microsoft should ship each Zune with a Mac virus.

  • iTunes (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jeebos (704360) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @12:29PM (#16487175)
    I know iTunes is a crappy application (on Windows), but I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a virus...

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