This has “PR Nightmare” (and perhaps “Security Crisis”) written all over it. It seems that 1,800 brand new 500GB Maxtor Essentials external hard drives have been shipped with a Trojan preinstalled. When used, the Trojan prompts the drive to forward information about the data contained on the disk to one of 2 websites, http://www.nice8.org and http://www.we168.org. Both of these sites are registered in Beijing, China. Weird, right? Here’s where it gets even stickier. The Taipei Times seems to think that the Chinese government is behind the malware installation. According to the paper, “In recent years, the Chinese government has run an aggressive spying program relying on information technology and the Internet, the (investigation) bureau said. The bureau said this was the first time it had found that Trojan horse viruses had been placed on hard discs before they even reach the market.” We’re a bit hesitant to pass judgement here, but given the tenuous nature of Taiwan’s relationship with China, we suppose this sort of thing isn’t out the question.