Seagate ships virus-infected hard drives

The company is offering customers a free trial of Kaspersky antivirus software, after the security vendor found a virus on some hard drives

Some Seagate hard drives infected with a virus have been sent to users.

Seagate said that antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab had discovered the existence of a virus on some of its Maxtor Personal Storage 3200 hard drives.

The antivirus company identified the virus as Virus.Win32.Ruh.ah — malware that can disable virus-detection software, although its prime function is to search for online game passwords and send them to a server in China.

The affected units were manufactured by a subcontractor in China, said Seagate. As soon as the company learned of the virus's existence, it stopped shipments of the hard drives from its facility.

Any units now leaving the affected factory have been cleared of the virus, while those in inventory are being reworked before being released for sale.

Seagate was unable to comment on how the virus came to be on the hard drives. An internal criminal investigation is being held into the contract manufacturer.

Seagate has advised users to clear infected units by installing the latest virus definitions for their antivirus software, while customers whose antivirus software has not yet been updated to clear the malware have been offered a free trial version of Kaspersky's antivirus software.

The news follows Seagate decision last month to settle a dispute over the labelling of its hard-drive capacity. The hard-drive maker offered some customers a five percent refund on drives bought during the last six years following a lawsuit over the definition of a gigabyte.