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Cybercriminals Preloading Chinese E-Cigarettes with Malware

According to recent reports, the increase in popularity of e-cigarettes in the United States and Western Europe has led to the potential of malware infection from e-cigarettes produced in China.Tweaktown.com published news on 24th November, 2014 stating that cybercriminals have become more creative in their attempts to compromise devices and ensure that devices produced in China are pre-loaded with malware which is getting more popular.

Social news site Reddit recently revealed the detail of how the computer of an executive of a big corporation was infected with malware from an unknown source. Moreover, it has been investigated and apparently found that it has been originated from a $5 (3.20 Pound) e-cigarette bought from eBay, an online auction site.

The Reddit post revealed: "The system of the executive was repaired till date and loaded with anti-virus to protect from malware. Web logs were sourced and all attempts were made to identify the source of the infection but not able to do so. Finally IT started looking for other possibilities after covering all traditional means of infection and asked the executive about any recent changes in his life to which the executive replied that he has stopped smoking two weeks ago and switched to e-cigarettes. IT was looking for this kind of answer."

It looks like that the malware had been hard coded into the charger and it infected the system by installing itself when it was plugged into USB of a computer.

Domain-b.com published a report on 24th November, 2014 quoting Rik Ferguson, a Senior Consultant of Trend Micro as saying "this story was completely believable and production of line malware had been around for few years infecting photo frames."

One way of protecting from such risk is to disable the data pins on the USB making the cable charge and stopping the exchange of any information between the connected devices.

In the meantime, malware originating from China has become a growing problem because more and more countries getting connected. Early this year, it was reported that Chinese cybercriminals are more and more targeting mobile users as they are designing more sophisticated hacking tools with mobile malware kits available at a price of even 100 Yuan (around 10 Pound) in the black market.

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