This is probably not quite the news that Dell wanted to get…
According to an article at The Register, Dell service has shipped replacement motherboards that contained spyware, presumably placed there at the manufacturing site.
The original post on the Dell Community Forums has this quote from a Dell rep:
As part of Dell’s quality process, we have identified a potential issue with our service mother board stock, like the one you received for your PowerEdge R410, and are taking preventative action with our customers accordingly. The potential issue involves a small number of PowerEdge server motherboards sent out through service dispatches that may contain malware. This malware code has been detected on the embedded server management firmware as you indicated.
We take matters of information security very seriously and believe that any impact to a customer’s information security is unlikely. To date we have received no customer reports related to data security. Systems running non-Windows operating systems are not vulnerable to this malware and this issue is not present on motherboards shipped new with PowerEdge systems.
We have assembled a customer list and are directly contacting customers like you through a call campaign. On the call, you should be provided a phone number to call if you have additional questions. Hopefully you received this on your call. If not, let me know and we’ll get it to you as soon as possible so you have all of the follow-up information needed.
Dell’s apparently being proactive about it…but what other option do they have? “Our factory-supplied boards come enhanced with spyware” isn’t exactly the ideal sales pitch.
If you have recently gotten a replacement motherboard for a new gen Dell PowerEdge, you might want to call your rep to make sure you’re not affected.