Digital Photos Frames Carry Risk of Infection

For the second year in a row, malware has been discovered in major-brand digital photo frames, carried by some of the nation’s biggest retailers.

Software that came pre-installed in frames manufactured by Samsung, Element, and Mercury, was found to enable the “Autorun” function in Windows, allowing it automatically install malicious code to a PC whenever it is connected. The nature of the malware varied with the device, and it isn’t even yet clear in some cases whether the malicious code was put there intentionally, or if it simply replicated itself from an infected computer used in the manufacturing process.

This problem isn’t just contained to digital frames though. In past years, a variety of electronic gizmos—from flash memory sticks to satellite navigation devices—have all been found to pose security threats.

Peripheral Devices And You

What do most of the popular electronic holiday gifts such as digital cameras, music players, photo printers or even cell phones have in common? They’re all “peripheral devices”—meaning that they have to be connected to a personal computer in order to become fully functional. Without these devices, our home computers remain just that—stationary libraries of songs, photos, and other data, inaccessible to us when we’re outside of the house.

What many consumers don’t know is that anything capable of downloading data given to it by a computer, is also capable of replicating its data onto that PC in the process. So before you plug a new device into your USB port, there are a few steps you should take to keep your computer safe.

Digital Photo Frames Can Contain Malware

2:51 minutes
Fox News interviews identity theft expert Robert Siciliano regarding the discovery of malware on digital photo frames.

What You Can Do

As always, the best way to protect your computer is to have a good, up-to-date anti-virus program installed and running at all times. These programs can identify almost any potential threat and neutralize it immediately upon connection of a device to your computer.

Staying away from cheap brands you’ve never heard of before (like those $15 drug-store digital cameras or MP3 players,) is also something many experts recommend. But top-notch anti-virus software should be enough to protect you—even from those yPod and Suny products you might find at the flea market.

Author: Richard Patterson

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