An adware package has turned up on the latest e-book devices from iRex, and will install itself automatically onto a connected PC if it gets the chance.
The infection appears to be the imgInSOY worm, which copies itself between removable media and uses autorun.inf to infect any Windows system it comes across. In addition to copying itself onto any more removable devices the worm operates as adware.
The Iliad is a Linux-based e-ink device which synchronises with a desktop PC to download books or other documents the user wants to read, as well as uploading sketches or annotations the user has made to existing documents. But when connected over USB the device also appears as a removable drive, and that's when the infection can occur.
iRex has sent out emails to everyone who's recently purchased an Iliad with instructions on identifying and removing the adware from the device, along with a recommendation to run some anti-virus software on their desktop PC (if they're running Windows). The company tells us the infection has been traced to a factory worker in the Philippines, where the Iliad is manufactured, who used a USB key to transfer documents between work and home.
The Iliad is one of the more technically-advanced e-ink devices, with Wi-Fi networking and an open OS, but the infection is a major embarrassment to the company. It does demonstrate that no matter how strong the firewall, there are many ways to get a dose of malware. ®