Seagate ships virus-laden hard drives

Seagate says that a small number of Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives have shipped with a virus.

If you bought one of Seagate's Maxtor Basics consumer hard drives recently, check it for viruses. Especially if you're a gamer.

Seagate is warning that a "small number" of its Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives recently shipped with the Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah virus, malicious software that "searches for passwords for online games and sends them to a server located in China," according to a note posted on the Seagate Web site. Only drives purchased since August 2007 are affected, Seagate said.

The hard drive maker is blaming an unnamed subcontractor, located in China, for the problem. Seagate said it learned about the problem from antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab. According to published reports, Seagate has had problems with Maxtor Basics drives sold over the past few months in the Netherlands and Taipei.

On Monday, the Taipei Times reported that Taiwanese distributor Xander International had discovered that 1,800 Maxtor Basics 500G-byte hard drives were affected, all manufactured in Thailand.

When contacted by IDG News Service on Monday, Seagate offered few additional details on the problem, except to say that it was investigating the cause of the infection and that it was offering a 60-day free trial of Kaspersky's anti-virus software through the Seagate Web site. "The trial version of the Kaspersky anti-virus software is capable of identifying and removing the virus," spokesman Forrest Monroy said via e-mail.

The virus scans the hard drive for password information on World of Warcraft as well as a number of Chinese games such as QQ, WSGame, and AskTao, Seagate said.

Trend Micro researcher Paul Ferguson said that while the password-collecting servers may appear to be located in China, they are actually located in Dallas and Korea.

Customers can contact Seagate customer support to find out if their particular drive is infected.

This isn't the first time that subcontractors have been blamed for virus infections on storage media. A year ago, Apple shipped a number of Video iPod systems infected with a virus. The company blamed a contract manufacturer for the problem.

Security experts say that it's easy for this kind of thing to happen, if one PC in the testing, manufacturing and quality assurance chain is infected. In the iPod video case, the hard drives were infected with Windows-based virus.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?