Alarm bells went off when a YouTuber found spyware in his brand-new AceMagic mini-PC.
- Jon from The Net Guy Reviews discovered spyware on an AD08 model while conducting a review.
- The spyware belongs to the Bladabindi and Redline malware families, known for data-stealing and keystroke-logging capabilities.
A batch of mini personal computers (PCs) by AceMagic, formerly known as AceMagician, has shipped with hidden malicious software.
Jon, a YouTuber with the handle The Net Guy Reviews, discovered the spyware when he was sent an AceMagic mini-PC, the AD08 model, to review.
When he received the PC, he went about setting it up like any other PC. Everything was going fine until Windows Defender, the operating system’s protection, flagged malicious programs within the recovery area of the AD08’s NVMe drive. The files, named ENDEV and EDIDEV, are part of the Bladabindi and Redline malware families. These are infamous for their data-stealing and keystroke-logging capabilities. The depth at which these files resided implies a deliberate effort to escape system resets.
To double-check, Jon used various cybersecurity software. All of them lit up like a Christmas tree. And hoping he just had bad luck, he went to Amazon to check the reviews. Not good. Several buyers reported the same alert.
The company even admitted to Jon that the whole batch was contaminated. They wrote:
“Yes, the virus software issue has been resolved in the current stock product offerings this issue will no longer be present in the current offerings as the one sent to you was the first shipment and we apologize that it had these issues and caused you some distress. But please don’t worry, everything has been properly resolved now. Thank you for your support!”
Turns out, AceMagic, and other companies, can sell these mini-PCs, at very low prices because they don’t necessarily use legitimate Windows 11 keys for the operating system. The Windows 11 installer blocks these software keys, naturally. But they still need to “hack” their way into it. What happens then is that an image is made with a small modification that allows it to bypass to setup part.
Getting such things off the grey market does not guarantee that you are not inviting trouble onto your device and network. And these companies won’t think twice.
We could blame Amazon for facilitating the sale of spyware-infected hardware, but is it really their job? It’s these questionable companies that cut corners to save a couple of bucks—well, in Microsoft Windows’ case, thousands—that are the issues.
You do save money by buying AceMagic mini PCs, but is it really worth it if you run the risk of getting all your information stolen?
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