updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue October 17, 2006
Worm found in video iPods
Apple is warning Microsoft Windows users that a small number of its latest video iPods shipped with a worm. Apple has updated its technical support site with a warning to Windows users: "We recently discovered that a small number - less than 1 per cent - of the video iPods available for purchase after September 12 left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus." According to Macworld UK, Apple has only received 25 reports concerning the problem so far; the worm does not affect data on infected Windows systems. "The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all video iPods now shipping are virus free," said Greg Joswiak, vice president at Apple. The Cupertino-based company has a number of Windows systems on its production line for quality control, and one of these "final test" stations was discovered as the source of the propagating worm.
"It appears this virus propagates to a PC when an iPod containing the virus is double-clicked in Windows Explorer. Technically it's a worm. It does not spread through a network."
The Apple executive said there was an exception in the production line process that is now remedied, adding his belief that Apple now has a process to ensure it doesn't happen again. "It's the first time this has happened to us and we wanted to be very open and up-front about what's happening. We first learned of this a week ago," Joswiak said. "Since then we have been working around the clock on this, discovering the root cause."
Although the worm does not do any damage to data on Windows systems, it can lower the security settings of an infected system, according to Apple, and should be removed from any infected machine. The worm propagates itself through mass storage devices and affects only Windows computers. Apple says up-to-date anti-virus software that comes bundled with most Windows systems should detect and remove the worm.
"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," Joswiak said. The company has published links to trial version downloads of anti-virus applications which are known to detect and destroy the worm, accommodating those Windows users who may not already have anti-virus software installed. Once installed, users are encouraged to attach their iPod to their Windows computer and run the anti-virus software. Users are also instructed to run the "Restore" function in iTunes 7 to restore the software on the affected iPod, according to the report. Additionally, Apple is suggesting users scan all existing external storage devices, including hard drives and digital camera memory cards for the worm.