RealTime IT News

TomTom GPS Gets A VirusVirus

UPDATED: Just months after Apple  was left red-faced over a virus found in its iPods, portable GPS device maker TomTom is in the same embarrassing predicament.

A pair of viruses have been found in what the company describes as a "small number" of its TomTom Go 910 dashboard-mounted models manufactured between September and November of last year.

The viruses, identified as Small.qp and Perlovga.a, are harmless and can't damage the TomTom, since it runs on Linux and both viruses execute on Windows.

In fact, said Patrik Runald, senior security specialist with F-Secure, they aren't much of a threat to Windows machines, either. Perlovga is harmless, it just spreads itself around the root directory of every infected computer. Small is a Trojan downloader but the sites it refers to are down.

"I don't think there's an antivirus program out there that doesn't detect these two pieces," he told internetnews.com.

The TomTom can be connected to a PC via a USB cable, and the computer will see the device as just another hard drive. From there, a virus scan and clean can be performed.

TomTom acknowledged the problem in an statement e-mailed to internetnews.com.

"The virus is qualified as low risk and can be removed safely with virus scanning software. Appropriate actions have been taken to make sure this is prevented from happening again in the future."

How this happened is not clear. Runald suspects it was a situation similar to the iPod incident last year.

"It probably got on there during the manufacturing process when someone used a Windows system to copy some files onto the master image. It just slipped through the QA [quality assurance] process," he said.

Updates prior story to correct spelling of Patrik Runald.