Computer virus found in digital photo frames

Insignia Digital Photo Frames Shipped With a Virus

Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:14PM EST

A frightening new computer virus is making the rounds, and it’s coming in through an unlikely source: Those cute, innocuous, and unavoidable digital picture frames.

SFGate has the story of a nasty piece of malware that has been riding along with Insignia brand photo frames, which were largely sold in Best Buy and Sam’s Club stores (and possibly other outlets) over the holidays. The virus, which I’ve yet to find an actual name for, is reportedly “easy to clean,” according to Insignia, but at least one IT expert (who was running antivirus software) tells a horror story about it, saying it took him 12 hours to rebuild his own, infected machine. All from simply plugging the frame into his PC.

This is hardly the first time that a technology product has shipped with a virus infection. Apple made headlines in 2006 for shipping a Windows virus on numerous video iPods. In recent years, products from Creative Labs, TomTom, Seagate, and even a cheap McDonald’s gadget have come from the factory bearing unwanted gifts.

But infected photo frames represent an even trickier scenario since many of the people using them are likely to be computer novices as opposed to, say, those plugging in a high-end GPS.

Worried about your own new frame? The good news is that the damage appears limited to Insignia frames and only the 10.4-inch model (model number NS-DPF-10A). If you’re sitting on one of these that you haven’t yet plugged in, don’t connect it to your computer; call Insignia at 877-467-4289 for instructions on what to do. If you have a different model frame, you should be OK for now.