Western Digital to provide recovery services for hacked NAS drives

A Western Digital drive
(Image credit: IT Pro)

Western Digital has announced a new trade-in programme to help customers mitigate the effects of a mass malware attack that saw terabytes of data wiped from users’ NAS drives overnight.

Those who lost data as a result of the hack will be able to benefit from Western Digital’s data recovery services, as well as a trade-in programme for My Book Live network-attached storage devices that were targeted in the attack. Customers partaking in the programme will be able to upgrade to a new supported My Cloud device.

Both programmes will become available starting July, the company stated.

The announcement comes after it was found that cyber criminals used not one but two vulnerabilities in order to remotely wipe terabytes of data from Western Digital My Book Live devices.

This is according to an investigation conducted by Ars Technica and Censys CTO Derek Abdine, which found that hackers exploited an undocumented vulnerability in a file named system_factory_restore.

The Discovery of the flaw comes after Western Digital identified a zero-day flaw that was attributed as the source of the attacks. Labelled as CVE-2021-35941, the unauthenticated factory reset vulnerability had been introduced to the My Book Live over a decade earlier, in April 2011.

Meanwhile, the Ars Technica and Censys investigation found that a Western Digital developer had edited out an authentication check which originally asked users to type in their password prior to remote access being enabled.


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Security expert HD Moore told Ars Technica that it seems as if someone at Western Digital “intentionally enabled the bypass”.

In a statement, Western Digital said that an internal “investigation of this incident has not uncovered any evidence that Western Digital cloud services, firmware update servers, or customer credentials were compromised”.

“As the My Book Live devices can be directly exposed to the internet through port forwarding, the attackers may be able to discover vulnerable devices through port scanning. The vulnerabilities being exploited in this attack are limited to the My Book Live series, which was introduced to the market in 2010 and received a final firmware update in 2015,” it stated, adding that the vulnerabilities “do not affect” the company’s “current My Cloud product family”, which will be offered as an upgrade to the impacted customers.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.