Do you have a WD My Book Live or My Book Live Duo data backup device? If so, Western Digital says you should disconnect it from the internet immediately because an apparent malware outbreak allows attackers to clean up these units remotely by initiating factory resets.
"Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has resulted in a factory reset that appears to erase all device data," Western Digital said in supporting article.
The latest firmware update for these external backup drives came in 2015, as Western Digital shifted its focus to newer products, such as its My Cloud Home line. However, it seems that one more firmware update could come, to fix any vulnerabilities that allow malware to wreak havoc on people’s data backups. In the meantime, however, Western Digital says these units should not be connected to the web.
"At this time, we recommend that you disconnect My Book Live from the Internet to protect your data on your device. We are actively researching and will provide updates to this thread when it becomes available," adds Western Digital.
The problem came to light when an affected owner published a story about Western Digital’s data loss support forum (via BleepingComputer). The user said that he had been using My Book Live for years without any problems, but woke up to find that "all the data available today has disappeared".
Others participated with similar experiences.
"All my data has also disappeared. The message in the graphical user interface says that it has been reset to the factory today.
To make matters worse, several users report that they can't even sign in to their My Book Live devices. When they try, they receive a message telling them that they have entered an "invalid password", even when they use their default login credentials. In these cases, doing another factory reset is a potential solution, but it does not recover the missing data.
Western Digital can’t do much for My Book Live owners who lost their data. If you are one of those people, depending on the importance of your data, you can try to extract the drive and connect it to a PC (iFix dismantling My Book Live) and then running a data recovery program on disk. Similarly, you can also pay for a professional data recovery service to try to recover your files, even though they are usually expensive.
This situation underscores the importance of having multiple backups of mission-critical and / or valuable data. And for really important things, even consider having one of these backups in a different physical location, just in case a physical disaster occurs, such as a fire or flood.