This is a pretty scary topic, but let’s go through the scope of this problem. It may not affect you at all, but if it does, I’ve got some advice for you.
Reformatted from Afar
Yesterday it was reported that some people’s Western Digital external hard drives were erased! And the attack is not the fault of the drive owners. Instead, they suspect a malware attack is reformatting the drives remotely (through the internet). WD is still working to figure it all out.
But this attack is only affecting WD My Book Live drives. If your WD drive doesn’t have “Live” in its name, you’re OK for now. If your WD drive connects to your computer via USB cable, there’s no immediate threat. The only worry is for WD My Book Live drives that connect via ethernet cable to your router.
What To Do, per Western Digital:
If you have a My Book Live drive, WD recommends you disconnect it immediately to protect your data.
What To Do, per BlueScreen Computer:
Personally, I recommend that WD My Book Live drive users strive to get their data off of MyBook Live drives ASAP. Switch to any other external hard drive, by WD or another big-name brand. Because, even if Western Digital comes up with a fix for this, it will be hard to trust MyBook Live drives, going forward.
If your MyBook Live drive has a USB connector on the back, it is safe to disconnect its ethernet cable and access the drive directly using a USB cable. The drive will be accessible just on the one computer it is cabled to, but that should be good enough to get your data off.
But if your Live drive only allows for an ethernet connection, there’s no easy and safe way to get at your data. You can take your chances, boot it up and try to get your data off of it (very risky, I do not recommend). Or you can watch the WD Advisory Page for updates.
If you have a My Book Live drive that has been erased by this attack, TURN IT OFF immediately.
UPDATE: Western Digital will offer data recovery services to anyone affected by this attack. And WD will announce some kind of trade-in process for MyBook Live drives, to help people move to different devices that are not vulnerable to this attack. Keep an eye on the last section of this website, to keep up with the details on these offers.