Western Digital experiences data breach cyber incident

Western Digital became the subject of a data breach attack. The attack was detected last week. We look at this cyber incident below.

Key points about the data breach incident affecting Western Digital

  • Western Digital is a hard drive manufacturer with its Head office in California. It is known as the manufacturer of Sandisk portable storage drives. The company posted revenue of $19 billion in the last financial year.
  • On 26th March 2023, the IT team of Western Digital detected unauthorized access to its infrastructure and IT systems.
  • The cyber incident has been classified as a data breach incident. The attackers were able to access proprietary data and information from the internal network of Western Digital.
  • The threat actor that orchestrated this attack remains unconfirmed at this point.
  • The nature of the attack remains unclear as Western Digital has not disclosed the type of attack. There is a high chance that this could be a ransomware attack. However, we await confirmation from Western Digital.
  • The scope of the attack is unknown. However, the impact has been severe because ‘My Cloud’ services continue to remain down as we write this. You can check the status of ‘My Cloud Home’ and ‘My Cloud OS 5 services’ on this page.
  • Business operations continue to remain affected by this network incident. The depth of impact on business operations has not been confirmed by Western Digital as yet.
  • As of writing this, customers of Western Digital are unable to access the files hosted on the ‘My Cloud’ service.
  • Western Digital has confirmed that it is in the middle of a cyber incident response system. The company is conducting a full-scale forensics audit to gauge the impact of this attack. It may be too early to comment about the overall impact of this cyber incident because the type of data stolen by the threat actor remains unconfirmed or unknown.
  • The cause of this network security cyber incident is not known. It would be interesting to read if the attackers used phishing campaigns for this network breach. Or, if one of the zero-day threats was used by the attackers to target data within the Western Digital network.
  • To prevent this cyber incident from affecting other parts of the network, Western Digital is learned to shut down the system and networks that have been impacted by this cyber incident.
  • Full system functionality may be restored after the end of the forensics audit. We expect a graded approach to restoring data and network connectivity by the Western Digital team.
  • We can see that the corporate website of Western Digital is working fine.

However, it is worth waiting for the completion of the forensics audit. Once the forensics audit has been completed, the nature, scope and type of cyber incident may be known.

How to protect against cyber attacks?

Cyber-attacks have been happening at an alarming rate over the past few months. There has been a spate of ransomware attacks against businesses and healthcare providers based in the United States. To protect against ransomware attacks and cyber threats, we suggest the following approach:

  • Ensuring regular backup of important data and its storage at an offline site.
  • Regular patching of security threats and vulnerabilities. This becomes all the more important if a zero-day threat affects any part of the system or network.
  • Regular watch over the security vulnerabilities, especially the ones that have been disclosed by the CISA team.
  • Educating users in detecting phishing or smishing attempts.
  • Deploying network security and surveillance systems like the ‘Crowd Strike’ for a proactive threat detection and management system.

About Western Digital

This cyber attack on Western Digital assumes a lot of significance. The target is a well-established IT company with revenues of over $19 billion in 2022. Western Digital reported an 11% improvement in annual revenues in 2022 in comparison with 2021 revenue figures.

The company is listed on the stock market and trades under the WDC code. There has not been any major impact on the stock price over the past week. The stock did go down by a little under 1 percent during yesterday’s trading session.

Western Digital makes portable storage drives and markets them under the ‘Sandisk’ range of products. The company also makes SSD drives under the Western Digital brand. The full range of products made by Western Digital includes:

  • Solid State Drives or SSDs
  • Hard Drives (HDDs)
  • USB Flash drives
  • Memory cards
  • Network Attached Storage or NAS
  • Data Center Storage
  • Embedded Flash

The corporate headquarters of the company is based in San Jose, California, United States. Besides California, Western Digital has offices in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Israel, China, Japan, India, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea.

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Rajesh Dhawan

Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.