Apple Ships iPods with Windows Virus

Apple apologized Tuesday for shipping video iPods containing the Windows virus RavMonE.exe, which apparently made its way onto a small number of the ubiquitous devices at a manufacturing plant. Around 1 percent of units shipped after September 12, 2006 are affected.

RavMonE.exe is a mass storage virus that only affects Windows computers. According to antivirus vendors, which dub the malware Win32.RJump.a and Troj/Bdoor-DIJ, the virus is a Trojan that opens links to Web sites and allows others access to a computer.

After installation, the Trojan contacts several remote sites to report the infection and availability of the backdoor, according to security firm Sophos, which rates it as a low risk infection. All up-to-date antivirus applications should detect and remove the virus.

"So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free," Apple said in a statement on its support site.

The company also took the opportunity to blast Microsoft's Windows operating system for not doing more to protect customers from such malware. "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," Apple said.

iPod owners who might be at risk from the Trojan should run antivirus software to remove it from their computer. Customers can utilize Microsoft's free Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner, which works within a Web browser.

"Because this Windows virus propagates via mass storage devices, we recommend that you scan any mass storage devices that you have recently attached to your Windows computers such as external hard drives, digital cameras with removable media, and USB flash drives," Apple added.

Although Mac OS X is not affected, the virus will remain on the device. Apple notes that customers can use the "restore" feature in iTunes 7 to wipe the iPod clean so it can be connected to Windows computers without problems in the future.

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