Warning cheap MP3 players copying trojans to your PC

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A warning to anyone buying a cheap MP3 drive online 

A few months ago we purchased a 4gb generic / unbranded MP3 player from an ebay seller.  When using it on our kids PC, two new drives appeared under "my computer".  The first is the MP3 drive itself but the second drive appears as a CD-ROM and contains utility software for the MP3 Player.  Some of this software seemed a little unnessecary and auto runs when you insert the MP3 player into the computer's USB port.

A few days later the PC seemed to run slow and the Anti Virus software had disappeared from it.  After running a number of spyware & trojan test tools we found a number of malware items on the PC and trojan downloaders which took a lot of work to remove.  Partly our fault for not having enough protection on the PC but you don't expect your MP3 player to be a source of malware.

We checked all possible sources for this problem and when we scanned the MP3 player's two drives we found the source.  The 4gb MP3 partition is empty when these drives arrive, but the virtual CD-ROM that loads when the MP3 is inserted contained the malware loaders.  These seem to be read-only hard coded onto the firmware of the MP3 player, automatically runs when the MP3 player is connected to the PC and cannot be disabled.

Maybe there was a quality control issue and the malware has unintentionally put onto these drives, however I have found lots on the internet about this problem happening on many generic devices.

If you are going to buy a generic MP3 player rather than a branded model then try and buy from a reputable dealer and eitherway scan the drive (s) when you first install it using a good AV product and malware scanner.  There are many good free products out there.  Better safe than sorry.

I hope this experience helps you when making your purchase so you don't end up with the problems we had.



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