Storage giant fingers ‘critical’ bug allowing remote factory resets that wipe contents

Western Digital has alerted customers to a critical bug on its My Book Live storage drives, warning them to disconnect the devices from the internet to protect the units from being remotely wiped.
In an advisory, the storage firm said My Book Live and My Book Live Duo devices were being “compromised through exploitation of a remote command execution vulnerability” CVE-2018-18472. The exploit is described as a root remote command execution bug which can be triggered by anyone who knows the IP address of the affected device and is currently being “exploited in the wild in June 2021 for factory reset commands.”
At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live and My Book Live Duo from the Internet to protect your data on the device.
Reports of the issue emerged on Thursday after owners of the NAS devices took to Western Digital’s support forums to complain.
“All my data is gone too. Message in GUI says it was ‘factory reset’ today! I am totally screwed without that data years of it,” wrote one user.
“I kept all my documents on this drive. All files gone,” said another.
Device logs published on the Western Digital forums show the devices were remotely factory reset, although the culprits have not been found. In a statement earlier today, the company said it didn’t believe its own servers were compromised.
The Western Digital My Book Live connects to a host computer via USB, with internet access coming via an Ethernet port on the back. Remote access is obtained via Western Digital’s own cloud servers.
NAS drives have a storied history of falling victim to malicious actors. In April, Taiwanese storage giant QNAP urged customers to update their drives in the face of two specifically targeted ransomware strains, Qlocker and eCh0raix.
The previous year, authorities in the US and UK warned of a mass infection of data-stealing malware targeting QNAP drives. Dubbed Qsnatch, the attack compromised an estimated 62,000 devices. Once inside, the malware opened several backdoors including SSH and a webshell and resisted attempts by the owner to deploy firmware updates that would have resolved the problem.
Lenovo has similarly been caught with its pants down in the past, hastily issuing a firmware patch in 2019 for its Iomega-branded storage devices after a security flaw could have potentially seen the contents of drives exposed to the internet.
While details about the “how” and “why” of this particular incident are thin on the ground, Western Digital noted its My Book Live NAS devices last received a firmware update in 2015. In practice, this means almost seven years of security vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched, leaving users at risk.
While Western Digital hasn’t disclosed the scale of the problem, a quick search on Shodan shows over 200 My Book Live devices publicly accessible from the internet.
The Register has asked Western Digital to comment. ®