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Chinese Black Market Selling Win 7 on USB Sticks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 32 comments

There's a "10-in-One" suite of Windows 7 Ultimate, loaded on USB sticks, up for sale on the Chinese black market.

Ars Technica reports that the Chinese black market is illegally selling Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system on USB sticks. What's even more insulting is that the USB drives are sold rather cheap, costing $14 (98 Yuan) for the pre-loaded Netac U208 8 GB USB drives. That's a crazy price given the hardware and software combination, and may offer a hidden payload in exchange for the low pricetag.

The report originates from the Chinese website 163, and is backed by a photo of the packaged Netac drive, displaying an authentic-looking front and back. Ars Technica translated the website's report using Google and Bing, revealing that Windows 7 Ultimate is what's packed on the drives. Actually, it's a "10-in-One" version that (probably) supplies the Ultimate OS and various tools, and then links them all into one user interface.

The black market drive's package also hints that it's the Signature Edition of the OS, and even offers a signature by The Man himself: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The Signature Edition of Windows 7 was originally distributed to Windows 7 Launch Party hosts months ago. Naturally, this product isn't endorsed by Ballmer. In fact, Microsoft considered a USB package as an option in the past, but eventually dumped the idea. It's assumed that Ballmer's signature is placed on the package to make it seem more authentic; it does look as if the product came right off the Microsoft presses.

Despite the outward appearances, these USB drives could potentially carry malware within the hacked copies of Windows 7. Although insanely cheap, this option is not only illegal, but could provide sensitive personal data to hungry hackers looking for bank accounts and credit cards.

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  • 0 Hide
    ubernoobie , December 4, 2009 12:09 AM
    lol... Smart
  • -2 Hide
    FoShizzleDizzle , December 4, 2009 12:25 AM
    Tiger Woods is big in the Chinese black market
  • 4 Hide
    ch42832n , December 4, 2009 12:51 AM
    How can we trust China with IP! China has no regard on IP. The only thing they care about is to steal various advance technologies from others, so China itself doesn't have to do the R&D for it. Then they can make big bucks out of it...Talk about low cost country...in China's case "no cost country"...
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , December 4, 2009 12:54 AM
    Quote:
    Despite the outward appearances, these USB drives could potentially carry malware within the hacked copies of Windows 7. Although insanely cheap, this option is not only illegal, but could provide sensitive personal data to hungry hackers looking for bank accounts and credit cards.

    Amen. Thanks for stating the obvious.
  • 0 Hide
    redgarl , December 4, 2009 1:04 AM
    Still... wouldn't USB OS be an awesome alternative? If only windows wasn't so much driver related...
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , December 4, 2009 1:05 AM
    I live in China. This is a big 'ol yawn. Flash drives are uber cheap in the markets regardless; and usually a disk version of pirated software is going to run around 7 RMB (a little more than a dollar). Doesn't necessarily come with malware - in fact, I'd say most don't. Although it's still hacked, and will likely cause people problems as Microsoft does the usual updates to counter those methods...
  • 4 Hide
    enzo matrix , December 4, 2009 1:35 AM
    In other news, microsoft decides not to do something people want, so someone ads it in illegally.
  • -4 Hide
    dhowie , December 4, 2009 1:41 AM
    seems like a plot to hijack
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 4, 2009 1:42 AM
    Blaa Blaa

    Pure speculation by the writer..
    Nothing to see here move - along.. another bull sensational session by
    a writer trying for attention..

    typical.. thanks for the nothing tom..
  • -2 Hide
    enzo matrix , December 4, 2009 1:49 AM
    Only the last paragraph is speculation by the writer.
  • -4 Hide
    nebun , December 4, 2009 3:18 AM
    can you say...STUPIDITY...so much for an evolving nation, as china says they are every time they are hacking the US defense systems. stupid crap like this allows them to get away with it.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 4, 2009 6:20 AM
    dun forget those pirate copy release by the group always compete among themselves. So if one screw up, their profit will go to the other guys. So they will try hard to provide a clean pirate release. However, sometimes you do get malware from some release due to mistake, new kids on the block or less skill...
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , December 4, 2009 7:27 AM
    enzo matrixIn other news, microsoft decides not to do something people want, so someone ads it in illegally.

    Ha... sadly true (as for MW2).

    Looks real though. Kinda cool actually.
  • -1 Hide
    cookoy , December 4, 2009 8:11 AM
    i used to buy these pirated software compilations before when i did not have an internet connection to try out some of the goodies and evaluate whether they are worth their legit prices. Now i download the trial wares for evaluation. Some stuffs they included are totally new to me. Good leads. But a lot of them are crap or worthless.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 4, 2009 8:33 AM
    I don't know what vanchinaman is talking about, Every single Chinese bootleg I have ever tried always have come loaded with viruses. In my opinion the majority of Chinese products can not be trusted. As a Chinese person once said to me, "We will do anything for a dollar."
  • 1 Hide
    MrHorspwer , December 4, 2009 10:20 AM
    I often joke with a co-worker who happens to be a Chinese nationalist over here on a work visa: Americans go to China and buy cheap fake Rolex watches. Chinese come to America and buy as many pairs of real name-brand shoes that they can fit into the luggage. He's taking back 10 pair of shoes for his wifes, kids, and parents.

    He says you simply can't find non-counterfeit items and that some counterfeits are done so well, it's hard to tell if it's actually genuine or counterfeit.
  • 1 Hide
    coolkev99 , December 4, 2009 10:33 AM
    Quote:
    Despite the outward appearances, these USB drives could potentially carry malware within the hacked copies of Windows 7. Although insanely cheap, this option is not only illegal, but could provide sensitive personal data to hungry hackers looking for bank accounts and credit cards.


    Or it could not contain any malware at all and be 100% virus free.
  • 1 Hide
    shabaa , December 4, 2009 11:06 AM
    And the Pirates are everywhere. Arrrrrrrgggg
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , December 4, 2009 11:55 AM
    A version of Win 7 on a USB stick or a bootable SD card would be awesome for all those people who dont have optical drive. And before some idiot says "what people" Netbooks.

    TBH, anyone could have their Win 7 on a flash drive, just make sure the license key is legit and have it as a backup in case the disk gets trashed.
  • 1 Hide
    sunflier , December 4, 2009 12:23 PM
    redgarlStill... wouldn't USB OS be an awesome alternative? If only windows wasn't so much driver related...

    I have Windows 7 iso on my USB and boots too.
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