back to article Taiwanese cops give malware-laden USB sticks as prizes for security quiz

Winners of a security quiz staged by Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau may be wondering why they tried so hard to do well after some of the USB drives handed out as prizes turned out to be wretched hives of malware and villainy. According to the Taipei Times, the Bureau hosted an infosec event in December 2017, and gave …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "prizes turned out to be wretched hives of malware and villainy."

    Bravo, Richard Chirgwin.

    These are not the USB sticks you're looking for...

    Move along...

  2. Nick Kew


    What were the drives supposed to contain that would be of interest as a prize for anyone?

    Or was this malware at such a low level as to survive making a new filesystem on a supposedly-empty USB?

    1. rmason

      Re: Prizes?

      @Nick Kew

      The price was the USB stick.

      They hadn't been formatted/checked and some/most/many had an executable on that is a virus.

      Reading the article is your man here.

    2. SVV

      Re: Prizes?

      The prize was actually a year's free access for Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau to the computers of all the hackers who turned up to this event, "won" a USB drive laden with their malware and were stupid enough to take them home and insert them into their computers.

  3. israel_hands

    2nd Prize...

    ...was 2 malware-laden USB sticks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but maybe

      The "prize" was just a way of checking if the winners /really/ understood computer security, since the quiz results might not be so reliable.

    2. Chris King

      Re: 2nd Prize...

      I once got a 419 spam telling that I had won the "Microsoft Word Lottery".

      As I deleted it, I couldn't help but wonder if the second prize was TWO copies of Word...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost as bad as winning a speedboat on Bullseye when you live in the middle of Yorkshire.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. gsf333

      No problem, Just take it for a 'thrash down the River Don' and race the River Boat & Party Boats

    3. PhilipN Silver badge

      Prize prizes

      A former boss from long ago, old-fashioned monocle-sporting City of London lawyer, attended a banquet of the agricultural community. In the evening’s raffle he won a prize heifer.

      He went up to the podium expecting to have to lead the cow (sic) off by the nose and figure out how to stuff it into a black cab. London cabbies can be obliging, but ....

      Fortunately for him he was just given a certificate, was able to auction off the unwanted animal and pledge the proceeds to charity. Phew!

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Almost as bad as winning a speedboat on Bullseye when you live in the middle of Yorkshire."

      Not a problem, just take it to Brid. I suppose a quick burn-up on Scammonden would be a tad unpopular.

  5. jigr1969

    Back in the 90's, I worked for a rather large German computer company, who had a number of service contracts with big retailers and financial institutes, one of those being Midland Bank.

    A computer used for duplicating engineering floppy disks to be used to test banking computers at the afore mentioned bank, had been infected by a virus from an engineer playing a pirated company game, Golf.

    Said infected disks were sent out to a couple of hundred field engineers, luckily for Midland Bank, they ran OS/2 v1.3 on most of their backend systems. Not so lucky for other customers using the same computers but running a copy of Windows!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Oh now you've reminded me of a text based golf game from the 70s... IIRC you were given a list of characteristics about the hole and the wind then you had to choose a club, a power setting and a bearing. You were rewarded with an outcome - lost ball, bunker, rough, fairway, green, hole and a new list of targets and bearings.

      Completely text based, nowadays it seems mad, but at the time it was quite addictive.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    So it was a double test...

    ...those that just shoved it into their computers, simply failed the 2nd part oft he test.

    1. JeffyPoooh

      "...those that just shoved [the USB stick] into their computers..."

      There's not much else that one can do with a USB Stick besides shoving it into a computer. I supposed one might plug it into a USB Power Pack, but that wouldn't accomplish much beyond perhaps testing any included LED.

      I'll agree that it might be best to ensure that one's PC is not configured to auto-execute everything presented to it. But beyond that, there's not really many other options (for most folks).

      Am I missing something? Inspecting it with a magnifying glass? Weighing it? Smelling it carefully? Building a breadboard circuit to read out the contents one bit at a time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...those that just shoved [the USB stick] into their computers..."

        You could format it on a non-Intel non-Windoze box.

      2. Greg 38

        Re: "...those that just shoved [the USB stick] into their computers..."

        "There's not much else that one can do with a USB Stick besides shoving it into a computer... "


        Baldrick: It's a bit of a tiddler, ain't it?

        Black Adder: Yes, but size isn't important. It's not what you've got, it's where you stick it.

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