Energizer's DUO Charger is a battery charger for NiMH (nickel metal hydride) rechargable batteries. (This isn't the same as USB batteries that have a built-in USB port on the batteries themselves.) Energizer provided a nice little desktop app for computers so that the user could see the charge status of their batteries along with the charger. We're not sure what the point of this is, really. I mean, is the indicator light on the charger not enough for you?
Unfortunately, that app included a Trojan that would compromise security and open a back door for unauthorized access on Windows machines. The trojan allows files to be sent and executed on your machine without your permission. There are alerts about this from both the computer security company Symantec as well as from US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team). Energizer has an advisory notice on their site where the software was downloaded from.
Only users with Windows computers who downloaded the software are at risk; there is noting in the battery charger hardware itself that threatens computers. If you have installed this software, which you would have had to seek out and download separately, you need to uninstall it to prevent it from putting your computer system at risk.
[Edit to add: It's pretty clear that Energizer was not a willing party to this. They have stopped providing the software for download and put out the announcement about the problem. They also note they are "currently working with both CERT and U.S. government officials to
understand how the code was inserted in the software."]
My advice, never install software for a piece of hardware that obviously doesn't need it. Battery chargers should charge batteries, there's no reason to make that relationship more complicated.
Link: Energizer advisory (PDF)
written by Chris, March 31, 2010
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