Folks using certain Western Digital (WD) storage devices are being urged to disconnect them while the company investigates reports of sudden data deletion.
The worrying development came to light on Thursday, June 24, when some owners of WD’s My Book Live and My Book Live Duo external hard drives awoke to discover that their data had disappeared, Bleeping Computer reported.
According to California-based WD, the problem is being caused by malicious software that prompts the device to perform a factory reset that leads to the loss of data.
One poster in a WD forum wrote: “I have a WD My Book Live connected to my home LAN and worked fine for years. I have just found that somehow all the data on it is gone today.”
Another said: “All my data is gone too. Message in GUI says it was ‘Factory reset’ today! 06/23. I am totally screwed without that data … years of it,” while another focused on security, writing: “It is very scary that someone can factory restore the drive without any permission granted from the end user.”
Once it learned of the alarming issue, WD posted a response on its community pages, saying: “Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has led to a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device.”
The message continued: “We understand that our customers’ data is very important. At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live from the internet to protect your data on the device.”
Finally, it said it is “actively investigating and we will provide updates to this thread when they are available”
WD’s My Book Live external drive received its last firmware update in 2015 and is no longer on sale. It’s not clear how many are still being used. The fact that it uses an ethernet cable to connect to a local network for remote file access and configuration changes suggests an entry point for the malicious actors targeting the device.
Digital Trends has contacted WD for comment on the situation and we will update this article if we hear back.
In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a new external drive — and you might well be after this incident — then take a moment to check out these recommendations.