Lessons from the WD My Book hack

A few days ago it starting being reported that users of Western Digital's (WD) My Book Live external hard drives were finding that all their data had been erased. At this time, it appears that a hacker exploited a known vulnerability/flaw to remotely wipe users' devices.

Western Digital stopped supporting My Book Live devices in 2015, issuing their last update that year. Users were warned of the impending end of support starting a couple years before that. It seems the vulnerability that was recently exploited was discovered in 2018.

There are some important lessons to be learned from this, even if you weren't affected. In our modern interconnected world, where everything is "online" on the internet, its imperative that all your devices be supportable and kept up-to-date. Computing devices can not be viewed as "appliances" that, if they work, can just be left be as-is. Even a device that is working must be replaced if its no longer being supported by the manufacturer. This not only applies to hardware devices, but software as well. Even a single application on your computer, if abandoned and no longer supported by the developer, becomes a security liability into your computer and your life, much of which is likely "online" at this point in. This certainly also applies to your operating system as well (Windows, MacOS, etc). Many users are reluctant and resistant to upgrading when new versions of their OS is released from Microsoft/Apple because they're comfortable with how things are, and have concerns about changes and the unknown. But whether one likes everything about the new OS/app version or not, it's critical to stay safe and either upgrade or look to modern and supported alternatives.

If you're faced with an outdated device or software and have anxiety about upgrading or replacing it, feel free to contact me. There are likely alternative options out there thay may address your concerns.

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