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Chinese Black Market Selling Win 7 on USB Sticks

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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  • ubernoobie
    lol... Smart
    Reply
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    Tiger Woods is big in the Chinese black market
    Reply
  • ch42832n
    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"...
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    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.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    Still... wouldn't USB OS be an awesome alternative? If only windows wasn't so much driver related...
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • enzo matrix
    In other news, microsoft decides not to do something people want, so someone ads it in illegally.
    Reply
  • dhowie
    seems like a plot to hijack
    Reply
  • 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..
    Reply
  • enzo matrix
    Only the last paragraph is speculation by the writer.
    Reply