O2 USB Sticks come complete with a Windows virus

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Telefónica UK Limited, also known as O2, is a telecommunications service provider in the United Kingdom owned by the Spanish multinational Telefónica. And if you happened to receive a USB stick from this company for some reason, then you should probably know there is high chance it came loaded with a virus.

Recently, O2 held a marketing campaign where it sent USB pens to its business customers accompanied by an email with an e-book download link. Soon after, another email was sent to those same companies warning them that the USB drive inside the pen contained malware.

The email subject, “Urgent: Information about potential virus”, prefaced O2’s warnings that the promotional USB embedded pens contained a Windows-specific virus which may not be detected by out-of-date antivirus software.

It seems this virus is able to install new programs onto infected systems and can also update itself along with the programs that it installs. In addition, the programs it installs can grant remote control access to the creator of the virus. In other words, the hacker could gain full control of your computer. O2 said that most of the USB pens were not infected with the virus and it claims that the supplier made that big mistake.

According to reports, the virus infects web files and program files on computers that run on the following operating systems: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows NT, Windows Vista and Windows XP. An O2 spokesman confirmed that the company has contacted all the customers who have received the free USB pen and advised them to discard it.

Have you received the free USB pen from O2? Will you discard it or you will just clean it out before using it?

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