Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Buy a Hard Drive, Get a Virus Free

How would you feel if you purchased a hard drive only to find out that it was infected with a virus? This is exactly what happened to some unsuspecting customers of Seagate's Maxtor Basics 3200 500 GB hard drive model. Some of the units reportedly shipped with a Trojan horse virus that would either search for online gaming passwords and send them to a server in China (according to Seagate), or report all data from the hard drive in question back to a pair of Websites hosted in Beijing (according to some other Website reports I've read).

The issue gets even uglier: some sources blame a sub-contractor in China for the error, while others suspiciously point the finger at the Chinese government, calling it a spy attack. Weird.

Reportedly only 1,800 of the drives reached the sales channel, 1,500 of which were pulled in time. Seagate is offering customers who purchased the infected product with a 60-day trial of Kaspersky Lab's anti-virus software, which is said to be able to remove the virus.

Basic math would tell me that only 300 devices were sold with the virus. If you ask me, these guys should get a bit more than a 60-day free trial of some anti-virus software! Sure, it'll cost Seagate to rectify things, but for such a small number of consumers, wouldn't a replacement drive also be warranted in this situation?

What's more, I searched and searched, and could not find the Kaspersky Lab's software anywhere on the Seagate Website, nor a notice alerting customers about the potential risk. (I eventually located it, but only via a PC World report that linked to the direct page). Regardless of whether 300, or 3,000 consumers were affected, this sort of information should always be fully and clearly disclosed to the consumer, rather than hidden in the background somewhere on the Website.

For the customer's sakes, I hope all 300 people were able to fully clean up the drives and get what they paid for.

1 comment:

Lee_D said...

Wow, that's a way more catastrophic blunder than Lululemon lying about their seaweed fabric!

You're 100% right, Seagate needs to pony up to the affected customers and make it right. You can't put a price tag on your reputation. Those 300 owners will remember a half-assed response, and so will anyone reading this, and likely hold it against Seagate forever.