Today, I decided to go ahead and replace the storage unit. I started by purchasing a new unit and the requisite hard drive online from Fry's for store pickup. This evening I headed over to Fry's and picked up my order. When I got home, I started the setup, which went well until the setup utility started asking for a password I didn't have.
After about an hour on hold and in various conversations with Linksys, I learned that the unit was OUT of warranty (and had been since January) and I'd have to pay at least another $9.00 to have them reset it (and I'd have to figure out how to get from them the ports I'd need open to let their tools find it, since their "next level" tech didn't know this piece of information). So I called Fry's, who said to bring it back.
At Fry's everyone was very nice, and the unit was quickly exchanged for a, unfortunately, slightly more expensive unit by a different manufacture (but one the guy in that part of Fry's said was the best based largely on returns) and am now configuring it.
I'm about 90% sure that Fry's was as much a victim of fraud as I was in this (fraud that they immediately corrected), in that someone purchased one of these units, and when it died out of warranty, they just bought another, then returned the bad unit on the new receipt. There was a mistake in Fry's policies in restocking the unit without verifying it and then selling it as new, but they made up for it.
I'm less impressed with Linksys's customer service people. The main tech I talked to clearly had way less understanding of the technical details then I did (I had to TELL her that my wireless system was not involved), and even the second level tech didn't have access to information to allow a moderately advanced administrator to open a system up to their tools. (If I'd gotten that info, I probably would have made doubly sure afterwards that the ports in question would never route to any Linksys equipment since that would clearly be an exploitable vulnerability)
I'm just now wishing I'd gotten to bed on time, but I still need to finish configuring the new storage unit and kick off a back up so I can get back to backing up my server on a daily basis.