AceMagic Promises It Won't Ship Anymore Mini PCs With Pre-Installed Spyware

up close kamrui am08 pro

Most of the time, preinstalled software on a PC can range from annoying to innocuous, with the occasional trip into "hey, this isn't so bad" territory. But sometimes, a PC can get imaged with something really nasty, causing buyers heartache well outside the norm. Such is the case with at least some AceMagic mini PCs, though the company swears it will remedy the situation. 

It all started with AceMagic's AD08, a trapezoidally shaped mini PC with an Intel Core i9-11900H and some otherwise decent specs for a reasonable price. Jon from YouTube channel The Net Guy Reviews got one in for review and just went about his business using the machine and testing it when Windows 11 warned him about some sketchy software that infected the system's recovery image. The files ENDEV.EXE and ENDIDV.EXE had a Windows backdoor lurking underneath, and Defender wanted to remove the offending files. Jon tells more in his video below. 

The Redline malware installed on the machine can steal passwords and other sensitive data and report it back to its source. It's a nasty present waiting for anybody who might buy one of these systems, and we just can't recommend using one. As he mentioned in the video, Jon says that AceMagic got back to him and promised it has resolved the issue going forward:

Yes, the virus software issue has been resolved in the current stock product offerings this issue will no longer be present in the current offerings as the one sent to you was the first shipment and we apologize that it had these issues and caused you some distress. But please don't worry, everything has been properly resolved now. Thank you for your support!

What's worse is that this appears to not be an isolated incident. Several Amazon customer reviews also reported backdoors being installed on their systems fresh out of the box. Not only the AD08 but also the AceMagic AK1 (an Alder Lake-based N95 mini PC) have multiple reports of these same malware files being on their machines. 

virus alert
Sure, Jan.

If the AD08 in the video looks familiar, there's a very good reason. AceMagic has gone by many brand names including AceMagician, Kamrui, and NiPoGi. Some of the company's mini PCs have been featured in reviews here at HotHardware. The most physically similar machine is Kamrui's AM08, which we reviewed late last year and pictured at the top of this article. While it wasn't the fastest mini PC on the block, it seemed solid enough, and it never caused any sort of spyware warnings.

However, we would recommend a full virus scan on any PC from any of the aforementioned brands, including the Ace Magician AM06 we also reviewed last year, if you happen to have one in your possession. Our review units never gave us any warnings like this, and it's entirely possible that it just affected one batch of Intel PCs.

Whatever the cause, It's bad enough when this kind of software can make its way onto your phone or onto an infected flash drive that gets passed around the office. A system coming with this software brazenly preinstalled is a great way to ruin a company's reputation. AceMagic says this incident is in the past, but can the company recover from something like this? 

Geekom mini it13 boxed
Geekom's Mini IT13 wouldn't do this to you.

On the other hand, plenty of other companies make great mini PCs with good performance and no traces of malware. For instance, Geekom's Mini IT13 performed very well while keeping relatively cool and quiet in a small form factor. In our Mini IT13 review, we gave it the HotHardware Recommended award, so it's definitely a worthwhile option to check out.