Japanese peripherals manufacturer I-O Data Device has offered product exchanges after it discovered it had shipped out a batch of hard discs contaminated with viral code. Portable hard disk drives in I-O Data's HDP-U series might be infected with the Tompai-A, a worm that gives hackers backdoor access to compromised machines.
Affected products are in the following range of serial numbers: 4957180059693 HDP-U40 YBS0000001xx - YBS0005520xx; 4957180059709 HDP-U60 YBT0000001xx - YBT0001000xx; and 4957180059716 HDP-U80 YBV0000001xx - YBV0002480xx. I-O Data offers its sincere apologies for distributing HDDs contaminated with "Troy wooden horse type" viral code in a notice here (in Japanese via Babelfish). The firm has promised to tighten up its procedures to prevent a repeat of the problem.
It was likely that the PC of a developer working on the driver software for the hard discs became infected, resulting in the spread of the malware onto hard discs coming out of I-O Data's production line. Similar viral infection incidents have affected HP, IBM and Dell (the worst hit) in the past. Back in 1999, Dell was obliged to shut down European PC assembly lines at its Limerick, Ireland plant for four days, amid fears machines had become contaminated with FunLove, a fairly innocuous (but hard to remove) Windows virus. ®