Watch Out For These Virus Packed Hard Drives

Seagate Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200

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

Nothing New

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.


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Comment by Saedel
2007-11-13 18:01:28

Thanks for the heads-up.

Anyway, about your question, this is slightly off, but my PC had been hit by a spyware and I didn’t even know what caused it. Im using my computer pretty fast, switching tabs as quickly as I can. I probably hit a link that auto-installed a toolbar and everything snowballed. I downloaded the free AVG anti-spyware and somehow it kills existing spywares.

That’s why Im buying a new harddrive to backup my data. Thanks for this warning.


Comment by jfc
2007-11-13 19:41:17

Hi Saedel,

What browser were you using? Firefox and IE7 are pretty good about stopping “drive by” installs but IE6, even patched, has a number of exploits that can let bad stuff in.

2008-07-20 06:01:23

I’ve had comparatively few virus problems, but I am very careful to keep my anti-virus software up to date.

Also, since must of my computers are Macintosh, there simply are fewer viruses out there to cause problems.

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