[ISN] PCs to developing world 'fuel malware'

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Jun 14 04:05:40 EDT 2006


By John Leyden
13th June 2006

Programs to send PCs to third world countries might inadvertently fuel
the development of malware for hire scams, an anti-virus guru warns.

Eugene Kaspersky, head of anti-virus research at Kaspersky Labs,
cautions that developing nations have become leading centres for virus
development. Sending cheap PCs to countries with active virus writing
cliques might therefore have unintended negative consequences, he

"A particular cause for concern is programs which advocate 'cheap
computers for poor third world countries'," Kaspersky writes. "These
further encourage criminal activity on the internet. Statistics on the
number of malicious programs originating from specific countries
confirm this: the world leader in virus writing is China, followed by
Latin America, with Russia and Eastern European countries not far

But what about all the positive uses in education, for example,
possible through the use of second-hand PCs in developing nations? We
reckon these more than outweigh the possible misuse of some computers
at the fringes of such programs.

We wanted to quiz Kaspersky more closely on his comments but he wasn't
available to speak to us at the time of going to press.

A spokesman for Kaspersky Labs agreed that PC donation programs have
benefits but maintained that in countries with "fewer legitimate
openings" for work the possibility of "unintended side effects" can't
be overlooked. He said that Eugene Kaspersky's comments should be
viewed in the context of a wider discussion of criminal virus writing,
contained in an essay on the anti-virus industry here. ®

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