Saturday, 30 July 2011 02:12

Aldi's 4-in-1 hard drive has Conficker sticker shock


Oops - Aldi's 4-in-1 320GB hard drive, CD/DVD burner, USB hub and card reader comes with an unadvertised fifth feature: Conficker malware.

Aldi, the cut-price German supermarket chain that has successfully entered the Australian market to the great annoyance of Australia's two major supermarket chains, is well known for selling all manner of gadgets and gizmos alongside food and veggies at what is generally nicely competitive pricing.

While Aldi always replenishes stocks of its regular food items on a regular basis, there are many products at Aldi that are sold on a first-come, first served basis, including tech gadgets, with no word on when the offer will be repeated again, thus helping ensure that Aldi's latest bargains sell out as quickly as possible.

Aldi's latest gizmo is a Tevion-branded 4-in-1 320GB hard drive, CD/DVD burner, USB hub and digital memory card reader, at a price of AUD $99.

Unfortunately, as has happened to other vendors around the world from time to time, Aldi's 4-in-1 drive had an unadvertised fifth feature: 2008's Conficker malware.

While anyone with up-to-date Internet security and anti-virus, anti-malware software should have been easily protected, Australia's 'Computer Emergency Response Team', or AusCERT, has put out a warning informing Australians of the potential risk, and suggesting a reformat and a scan with up-to-date protective software is a good idea.

AusCERT's warning also states that it has 'received reports that ALDI is selling a product, at least in Queensland that contains malware via its built-in hard disk drive. The malware is extremely old, with some of the malware being seen since in August 2008. This is fortunate in one sense that most systems should detect this malware if they have antivirus installed. The components of the malware is from the notorious Conficker, also known as Downadup.'

Aldi has reportedly responded by removing the 4-in-1 drive from its store shelves and initiating a recall, although anyone whose Internet security software detected the malware in question should already be well protected and shouldn't need to bother with any recall activity.

If you want to see the drive in question, Aldi's Australian site still has the 4-in-1 drive listed, or at least, it's still listed at time of publication.

Ultimately, and as always, it goes to show that computer security, updates and patches to all your software programs and OS, and even multiple layers of protection are something that you need to take very seriously, as you never know where the next malware threat is coming from.

Take the time to learn more about computer security now, as well as ensuring you have multiple backups of all your important systems, or you might well find discover why an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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