Bradford teachers have reported that a number of the free laptops supplied by government contractors, for children without home internet access, contain the self-propagating network worm, Gamarue.I.
Described by Microsoft as a worm that can download files onto a PC, it will copy itself to and from flash drives or is carried through spam email. According to teachers in a Bradford online forum, the suspicious devices appeared to be automatically contacting Russian servers.
The Department For Education says it does not believe the problem is widespread though they are looking into the cases that have occurred in Bradford as a matter of urgency.
Over 800,000 of the proposed 1.3 million devices in the government scheme have been delivered since last spring. Suppliers have argued previously that sourcing laptops has been challenging as the global demand is so high. The origins of the infected devices is, as yet, undisclosed.