Apple admits selling iPods infected with computer virus

The computer and music company Apple has warned that some of its iPod music players may be harbouring a virus.

Less than 1 per cent of video iPods sold after 12 September were carrying the RavMonE virus, which affects computers using the Windows operating system, the company said yesterday.

The iPods were infected with the virus from a Windows computer at one of its manufacturing plants in China. It will only be activated if the iPod is plugged into a Windows computer, and Apple said that up-to-date anti-virus software should recognise the malicious virus.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for computer security firm Sophos, said: "If you have bought a Video iPod in the last month there is a chance that it could have a Windows virus on it."

But he said there was confusion over "precisely which Trojan horse or virus" was infecting iPods. He said the virus was likely to be a member of the W32/RJump virus family, which tries to steal information from an infected PC.

More than 32 million iPods were sold last year but Apple said yesterday that it had received less than 25 reports concerning the problem. Only video iPods, rather than the smaller Nano and Shuffle music players, are affected by the virus and the company said all video iPods now shipping are virus free.

"We are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and more upset with ourselves for not catching it," an Apple website statement said.

Earlier this week it was reported that McDonald's in Japan was recalling 10,000 MP3 players it had distributed in a Coca Cola promotion because of a spyware program that logs keystrokes and sends them back to computer hackers.