Flash Drive Viruses

on Friday, October 8, 2010

The recent Stuxnet virus, which infiltrated large industrial control systems in China, India, Pakistan, and India, likely found its way into government computer via a Flash drive. Similarly, last year's Conficker worm got into the computers of the French navy and the city of Manchester, England, through infected USB disks.

Flash drives are becoming the latest gateway computer viruses and worms are using to infect computers. A recent Trend Micro survey found that 53.7 percent of newly detected computer viruses are being programmed to spread via USB devices.

Fortunately, there are several precautions to prevent your Flash drive from infection.

1. Keep work and personal Flash drives separate.

2. Always scan a Flash drive before retrieving files from it. Your anti-virus software should have the ability to scan a specific drive for viruses. Simply plug in your flash drive, set up a custom scan, and scan that drive. In Symantec, choose Scan for Threats, then Create a New Scan (see screenshot below), and checkmark the removable drive that represents your Flash drive.

3. Just like email, don't ever open a file with unknown origins, unless you are sure it is safe. Be particularly careful with Flash drives that are not your own.

4. Don’t allow the USB Drive to Auto Play after plug in. Choose cancel it (see screenshot below). Then browse to the Flash drive to retrieve the files yourself.


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