The haven of CEO placidity known as Bill Watkins, will surely be causing liberal fan coatings of brownish stuff. For the second time Seagate has been hit with its own China syndrome.

After having had Mac 2.5-inch Chinese drive problems, Seagate has to face up to pre-loaded malware on drives made in its Thailand plant. According to Virus Bulletin: "A shipment of Maxtor external hard drives, produced in Thailand by US-based Seagate and sold in Taiwan, has been found to be infected with Autorun trojans designed to gather sensitive data from machines connected to the storage devices."

The affected drives were Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200s. The data was sent to to two Beijing web sites. (Kaspersky sources talk of a server in China and of infected Seagate Maxtor hard drives sold in the Netherlands.)

The Taipei Times reports that Chinese government involvement is suspected and around 1,800 3.5-inch Maxtor drives are suspect. The local distributor has pulled remaining drives in this batch off its shelves.

A Chinese sub-contractor of Seagate, involved in the manufacturing process, has been indicated as the source of the Trojan infection. Seagate itself said that the problem has now been resolved and all disks leaving the factory are clean.

If the Chinese government is involved it's a damn silly way to behave towards an investor of global status in your economy.

Recently Watkins revealed Chinese interest in buying Seagate. That would now be a complete no-no as no computer user with any sense will now buy a computer hard drive manufactured in China by a Chinese company. Watkins will be hyper-sensitive to such risks to Seagate's business and monumentally grateful that competitors Western Digital and Hitachi GST aren't making marketing hay while the Chinese Sun casts its blighting rays on Seagate.

It is a very stupid Dim Sung spying recipe by the people involved.