Imported hardware/software in America infected with malware?

Posted: July 12, 2011. At: 1:29 AM. This was 6 years ago. Post ID: 1734

wall o' computers

According to a Source in the Department of Homeland Security, many hardware components imported into the United States are infected with malware and spyware and pose a great risk to the health of any Windows computer they are plugged into. This is reported to have been carried out by unknown foreign powers, putting the computing infrastructure of the United States at risk. With the hardware components possibly being infected with spyware and malware, could you trust it on your computer, without the fear that your personal information could be fed to a foreign computer network for analysis? Most of the security compromises have been found in gray-market and counterfeit electronic devices, but this does not mean that other devices are not infected as well. This seems to be a case of rogue nation-states installing sleeper, one-use attacks in the electronic devices destined for sale in the United States, as well as software. more malicious than those USB flash drives from China that say they are 8GiB, but are really only 512MiB or less. The retail chain Aldi was selling those drives at one stage, I think they still are, never buy really cheap USB disks, they are really too good to be true, I bought a 8GiB Sony one a while ago and it was awesome and very reliable. Now that this has come to light, we can expect some more rigorous checking of software and hardware imports into the country to quell this threat to the nation as a whole, if this was to affect the military and their security was compromised as a result, this would be a huge disaster for America. I wonder if the security holes only affect Windows machines though, that probably is a given, considering that operating system is the most popular one and easily compromised by malicious software. And just about every computer around the country has Windows installed, with a smaller proportion of Macintosh computers and a smaller install base of Linux and UNIX operating systems. The greater proportion of my website visitors use Windows XP, Followed by Windows Server 2008 and Ubuntu. Windows 7 is popular, as is Windows Vista, but Windows XP is still going even after all of these years and three service packs later it is still a very dominant installation, even though it is not very secure or as stable as Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Linux Mint 11 comes with a good choice of software and codecs out of the box so to speak, and installs very quickly and easily on your computer and dual booting with Windows 7 without problems. And it is more resistant to just about any viruses on the Internet. There are tutorials on how to write Linux viruses, but they are quite dated I would think, if you were running a system like Fedora; using the NSA Selinux system by default, the computer would be very secure and safe indeed. Is this going to frighten more people away from using the Internet?

Maybe this is a good reason to switch to Linux instead of Windows, then you will not have to worry so much about viruses and malware infecting your system. I have used FreeBSD in the past as well and that does not get viruses at all either. If the government networks where not wholly based on Windows, there would not be such a huge problem, but unfortunately they are and there are vulnerabilities prevalent in using such an insecure and unreliable operating system for such critical work as the government is performing, as well as the average consumer who expects any hardware/software they buy to work properly and without any malware being present in the device or program to take control of their home PC. If Windows was actually a secure operating system it would not be beset by countless bugs and pieces of malware that may present a risk to someone browsing the Internet for fun and visiting a website that offers a download that seems to be too good to be true and it turns out to be virus infected. This does happen, but it should not in this day and age. Windows 7 Ultimate with Microsoft Security Essentials is pretty secure these days and catches many viruses before they can take hold on your system. I would rather not run something like Norton 360 that might use up more memory than it should. MSE is very light on resources and does not get in your way. A good anti-virus suite should stay out of your way unless it has something to tell you and not dominate your computer with alerts and use up way too many system resources scanning for malware. The old VET anti-virus for DOS was very light on resources and was very quick to scan as well, today there is a slick GUI for everything and system resource usage has gone up as well. That seems to be the way of things these days, I have tried out Itunes 10 and it takes a long time to load before it is usable. I have an Ipod Nano and GTKPod will not work very well with the model of Ipod I have, Banshee will detect the music on the Ipod properly, but I have not tried the music management yet. I can play music from the Ipod in Helix Banshee and that works perfectly, it is just GTKPod that does not properly support the model if Ipod I own now. Surely you would say to me, I am supposed to be pushing free alternatives to proprietary solutions like the Ipod, but I can still import all of my existing music to the device without needing Itunes, I can configure Banshee to sync my music library instead, but I like the features of the Apple Itunes software despite the 77 MiB download size. The KDE software Amarok also supports the Apple Ipod, but I will have to give Banshee a go since I already have that installed and configured.

Printed below is the output from the w(1) command that will print out how many users are logged into your machine and what they are running at the moment.

[13:02:44-*-homer@hungry-forest dwhelper]$ w -o
 13:03:12 up 19:09,  6 users,  load average: 0.03, 0.04, 0.05
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
homer    tty3                      Sat23   13:50                -bash
homer    tty1                      Sat23    2:17m               -bash
homer    tty8     :0               13:01   19:09                openbox
homer    pts/0    :0               13:01                        mplayer -vo null Helmet - Milquetoast.mp4
homer    pts/1    :0               13:02                        w -o

Very useful command. And this is the output of the finger -lmps command that prints out a list of the users that are logged into your machine and how long they have been logged in.

[13:03:12-*-homer@hungry-forest dwhelper]$ finger -lmps
Login: homer          			Name: Heathcliffe
Directory: /home/homer              	Shell: /bin/bash
On since Sat Jul  9 22:00 (EST) on tty2    3 minutes 10 seconds idle
     (messages off)
On since Sat Jul  9 23:13 (EST) on tty3    13 hours 50 minutes idle
     (messages off)
On since Sat Jul  9 23:13 (EST) on tty1    2 minutes 54 seconds idle
     (messages off)
On since Sun Jul 10 13:01 (EST) on tty8 from :0
    19 hours 9 minutes idle
On since Sun Jul 10 13:01 (EST) on pts/0 from :0
   43 seconds idle
On since Sun Jul 10 13:02 (EST) on pts/1 from :0
No mail.

And this simple command that will print out who you are.

[13:03:49-*-homer@hungry-forest dwhelper]$ who am i
homer    pts/1        2011-07-10 13:02 (:0)

And the cal command that will print out a calendar of the current month with today’s date highlighted.

[Sun 10:22pm 11][homer@hungry-forest]:~> cal
     July 2011
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                1  2
 3  4  5  6  7  8  9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

Windows 7 commands.

This is the command to use on Windows 7 to list the users that are logged in. I used the Windows powershell to run this command. I am not always putting Windows tips on this website, but it is good to do this sometimes as the users of Windows 7 may not be aware of the excellent commands you can execute to gain information about your machine.

PS C:\Users\thx> net users

User accounts for \\SHOGGOTH-HAL

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Administrator            Guest                    shoggoth
thx
The command completed successfully.

PS C:\Users\thx>

And finally this useful command for Windows 7 to find some information about your machine.

C:\Users\thx>net config workstation
Computer name                        \\SHOGGOTH-HAL
Full Computer name                   shoggoth-HAL
User name                            thx

Workstation active on

Software version                     Windows 7 Ultimate

Workstation domain                   WORKGROUP
Logon domain                         shoggoth-HAL

COM Open Timeout (sec)               0
COM Send Count (byte)                16
COM Send Timeout (msec)              250
The command completed successfully.

C:\Users\thx>

And you can type winver in a command prompt window to pop-up a window that will show information about the version of Windows you are running and what service packs (if any) you have installed.

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