It seems that some of Seagate’s Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives come with a little something extra, the Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah virus. This virus searches for passwords for online games, like World of Warcraft, and sends them to a server in China. Only drives purchased since August 2007 contain this little bonus item. If you have one of these drives contact their support number
Seagate is working with antivirus vendor Kaspersky Labs, who identified the problem. They’re offering a 60 day free trial version of Kaspersky’s anti-virus software as a free download that should clean up the virus.
Who’s To Blame?
Can you guess where Maxtor outsourced the manufacturing of this hard drive? Maxtor blames a Chinese subcontractor who in turn blames a sub-sub-contractor in Thailand. This highlights one of the main risks of offshore outsourcing, the inability to insure quality processes. It’s difficult enough to maintain quality in-house but when your manufacturing is spread out across the world it almost becomes impossible
This kind of thing actually isn’t that uncommon. All it takes is a system that’s used for mastering images to get infected and then you’re sending out viruses to customers unintentionally.
I saw this happen in the late 80’s with an early Mac virus. Our Mac support guy had downloaded a virus laden utility program from a bulletin board system (BBS) and we ended up sending out about 100 copies of it to customers. I’ve seen it happen a few other times as well.
It’s always a good idea to check any software you install from anywhere for viruses. Even trusted sources can have quality lapses and let bad stuff slip in.
Have you ever been hit by a virus from an unexpected source? What precautions to you take? Leave me a comment and let me know what you have to say.