McDonald's: posterboy for the western world's obesity pandemic, and now the first fast-food restaurant to give away a free computer virus with every meal. A McDonald's promotion in Japan gave away 10,000 USB-stick MP3 players loaded with ten free songs -- and one free Trojan horse. The unexpected gift was the 'QQPass' Trojan -- an insidious program intended to steal login data from a Microsoft Windows PC.
According to reports, just plugging the McDonald's sponsored USB key into a computer running Microsoft's beleaguered Windows operating system will infect the system. Cynics point out this is isn't the first time that sticking something from McDonald's into a valued possession has caused problems -- until now it's always been the human mouth, though.
There's no suggestion that McDonald's was using the USB players to farm customer data -- the infection seems to have been accidental (McDonald's apologised and set up a help line). Nonetheless, it looks like McNugget munchers must now side-step both cardiovascular disease and malware. We've heard of viral marketing, but this really takes the burger. -CS