Dell Inc is giving customers replacement parts for servers that were infected with a computer virus designed to steal private data. The company said it was not aware of any attacks as a result of the rare incident, and that it was replacing the tainted parts as quickly as possible. A Dell spokesman said he could not say how the virus, known as the W32.Spybot worm infected the motherboards, which were replacement parts and not shipped with new machines. The incident underscores the growing threat posed by hackers. While experienced computer users are wary of files that they take off the Internet, few think of their computer hardware as vulnerable.

Dell said on its website that the issue affects less than 1 percent of four of its server models — PowerEdge R310, R410, R510 and T410. It said customers would be safe from attack if they were running up-do-date anti-virus software. Businesses use servers to manage large amounts of data. A virus attacking a server can do more harm than one that infects a personal computer. W32.Spybot, discovered in 2003, is designed to establish communications with remote handlers who instruct it to perform a variety of tasks, said Dean Turner, a research director at computer security software maker Symantec Corp. “It can do a lot of things based on the directions it receives, but it is primarily designed to steal confidential information,” he said.

Tags: , ,