The Police are supposed to protect and serve but Taiwanese police in the news for distributing malware-infected USB sticks to the winners of a cybersecurity-related quiz during a conference hosted by the Presidential Office in December 2017.
According to reports, the National Police – the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CBI) awarded 250 USB sticks with 8GB of storage capacity however it turned out that all USB sticks were infected with a Chinese malware XtbSeDuA.exe designed to target 32-bit Windows devices.
Moreover, it was discovered that the malware was stealing and sending data to a Polish IP address but the good news is that Europol had shut down the IP address back in 2015 in a major operation on an electronic fraud ring.
At the time of publishing this article, 54 out of 250 people came forward to inform the authorities about the presence of malware in their USBs while 20 sticks were retrieved by Bureau which means 34 sticks are yet to be recovered.
The Bureau is certain that the malware is not part of Chinese cyber espionage. In a conversation with Tapei Times, Bureau said that the “infection originated from an infected workstation at New Taipei City-based contractor Shawo Hwa Industries Co” when “An employee at the company used the affected computer to transfer an operating system to the drives and test their storage capacity, transmitting the malware to 54 units.”
Understandably, authorities are upset that an even hosted on such a high level was compromised however, this is not the first time when malware infected USBs were distributed. Last year, IBM sent off malware infected USBs to its customers which according to Trend Micro researchers served victims with PE.WINDEX.A malware originally hosted on Korean websites that would attempt downloading other malware once executed.
Therefore, if you use a USB stick be vigilant and always scan it before opening its content on your device. To protect yourself from USB related malware infection read how a USB could become a security risk for your device.
Top, featured image via DepositPhotos/Solar22