Dante send me a link to another "malware found on purchased laptop" story. The new M&A Companion Touch netbook did not ship with one or two malicious programs, no a total of three were found of it: an USB worm, a rootkit and a World of Warcraft password extractor. These things seem to happen regularly and it is not only laptops that are affected by this.
We have seen malware appear virtually anywhere where it can appear in the last years, even on music CDs from a well known company whose name I do not need to mention as everyone knows it as the rootkit company in these days.
The fact that malware can be found on nearly any device with readable or writable storage requires a new way of thinking on part of the user.
While you may have trusted companies in the past, it is no longer the best course of action as the example above highlights.
So, what can you do to make sure that the new computer, music CD, smartphone, tablet or router is not infected by malicious software?
There are two lines of thought when it comes to verifying that a new computer or electronic device is clean and not compromised: the first has you scan the device with recent antivirus and security software to make sure it is clean.
The other is a bit more thorough than that, as it suggests to reinstall the operating system from scratch.
Security companies may advise you to scan a newly purchased computer system thoroughly before you start to work with it to make sure it is clean and not infected by malicious software.
They may also suggest to stay offline during the procedure which can sometimes be problematic if the computer system is the only available at hand.Even if antivirus software is installed, it usually needs updating before it is of any use. Plus, if the computer is infected, the software may be useless for this task anyway.
The same is true for antivirus software that is purchased in stores.
Security experts suggest to download the virus definitions for the antivirus program from a different computer with Internet access. That's problematic if there is only one computer system available. Solutions for this may be to visit friends to use their computer, go to an Internet Cafe or computer shop to download it from there. Then again, all those systems may have infections as well.
One of the better solutions seems to be to wipe the drives clean and install an operating system from scratch on it. That is only working if you have the operating system at hand though.
Which leads to the question: What do you do after buying a new computer system?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.