Big Maxtor Disks Making Big Security Headaches [Updated]

Big Maxtor Disks Making Big Security Headaches [Updated]

Time to Think Twice About Maxtor Drives?

Unfortunately, this isn't  the first time that Maxtor portable drives have been fingered in an information-stealing probe. Back in September, Kapersky Labs reported finding the same Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah virus on Maxtor Portable Storage 3200 drives sold in the Netherlands. At the time, Seagate blew off the report, with a spokesperson reportedly saying "...I have never heard of a virus that lives in the master boot record." The spokesperson had evidently never heard of the notorious Brain or Michaelangelo boot-sector viruses. With the latest infection, though, Seagate has become a believer in boot-sector viruses.

So, is it time to think twice about Maxtor external hard disks? Maybe it is, and maybe it's time to think twice about any storage coming from mainland China. Keep in mind that with today's global economy, even a hard disk that has a different "assembled in" country on the packaging might have a disk assembly hailing from China.

Protecting Yourself (and Your Data)

So, how can you protect yourself from getting zapped by a virus coming from a new hard disk?

  • Scan any brand-new external hard disk for viruses and malware as soon as you connect it to your system.
  • If you have a system you're not using for anything, consider making it a virus testing system.
  • Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date.
  • Reformat external hard disks before using them to recreate the master boot record.
  • To prevent a portable hard disk from starting automatically in Windows XP, download and install TweakUI from the Windows XP PowerToys website. Use the AutoPlay section of TweakUI to disable AutoPlay.
  • To disable AutoPlay in Windows Vista, open the Play CDs or Other Media Automatically link in Control Panel's Hardware and Sound category and uncheck the Use AutoPlay checkbox. The How-To Geek's website also has tips for controlling AutoPlay for specific media types and how to disable AutoPlay with Group Policy or registry tweaks.

With all of the new-found emphasis on safeguarding consumers from dangerous Chinese products, let's hope drive and storage vendors are jumping on the bandwagon.



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I once had a windows issue where I had a DoS virus. So I re-installed Windows (formatting and all).... didn't work. I finally did what is wrongly called a "low-level" format, and all worked well. So don't tell us there's no such thing as a virus that can get that deep.

Onto my rant: I think it's pitiful that you can't even trust "pristine" hardware and software these days. I wonder if I can trust the graphics card I just installed...hhmmmmm where was it made?

This is getting out of control, the US needs to start sanctioning China until they crack down on these knock-off, low-life, lead-tainting, patent infringing subcontractors. Now don't call me names. It's not a specific people I'm upset with. It's the lack of enforced ethical business code that has gone rampant in many manufacturers there. Now why is it unchecked? Because it's good for China's economy.

Anyone know of a site that lists where computer companies products are made and/or assembled?

There's no time like the future.



The website's a useful place to start finding out where some computer products (mostly 'white box' components, it appears) come from:

However, you're probably better off looking at the label on the product itself. If you're planning to order something through a catalog or online, send an email requesting country of origin info before you order.

I've been trying to avoid Chinese-made products (I prefer Taiwan, or as we used to call it, the Republic of China, Singapore, Thailand, and the good ol' USA), but it's not easy. In many cases, there aren't any alternatives. Fortunately, a lot of hard disks are being built in countries other than China.

It's amazing how illogical a business built on binary logic can be.



I’ve always made it a policy to format new drives.. The extra hour of time could save days if not weeks of restoring if the partition is bunk OTB. And with this there is more of a reason to do so.

If I were to say who should be held responsible for this i would say both. China for not checking the drives they sent out and Seagate for not following up with the reports they were getting to see if it was a valid issue.

As for that rep.. I personally do not know anyone who works on computers who doesn't know what a boot sector virus is and what it can do.. So to me that guy sounds like a suit tring to do damage control. Rather then someone that knew what was going on.. I’m sure there was a lot of techs out there that did a head slap or got at least a good chuckle out of it after they read that.

Finaly it does not surprise me that there targeting wow accounts. I've seen sites that sell 1000 gold for $110+/-(depending on the server). Why bother stealing credit card numbers when people are more than willing give you there money.. If people didn't buy it. It wouldn't be sold in the first place.. And this would never have happend.

In the end, Antiviruses will be patched (if they haven't already), boot sectors will be fixed, and this will all be swept under the rug and forgotten like a lot of things are now a days.

Steve J. L.



Quite frankly, if the company honestly believes that there's no such things as MBR viruses, then they're idiots and incompetent to manufacture hard drives. If they're just saying that in an attempt at damage control, then they are maliciously lying and putting their customers at risk. Either way, quite frankly, they shouldn't be in this business.



It was a Diamondmax 10, and its arm stopped working, causing me a loss of a year of data.

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