A number of recently shipped Video iPods contain the Windows virus, RavMonE.exe, according to a statement made by Apple today.

The computing giant estimates that less than one per cent of Video iPods shipped and available for purchase after 12 September 2006 are infected with the malware, which only affects Windows PCs.

The announcement also states that iPod Nanos and iPod Shuffle devices do not carry the malicious file. It said: "As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it".

Security vendor Sophos released a statement saying the malware used a common name making it difficult to identify its characteristics. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos, said the devices could have been infected during product testing.

"It's most likely that some of the Video iPods were plugged into a Windows PC for testing purposes at Apple's Chinese-based contractor's manufacturing plant, which is why only some of them are infected rather than all," he said.

"There are a number of different pieces of malware which use a file called RavMonE.exe and so we don't know at the moment precisely which Trojan horse or virus may have been shipped. Hackers sometimes spoof the names of legitimate programs to cause greater confusion," continued Cluley.

Alan Hely, corporate communications director for Europe at Apple Computers, said the number of globally affected - and UK specific - units were unknown.

"This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free," he said.

In Q3 2006 Apple sold more than eight million iPods worldwide.

Customers can go to http://www.apple.com/support/windowsvirus/ for instructions on how to remove the Windows virus.