USB Drives & Virus Attacks

As the days go by it seems as if there are new threats and viruses popping up everywhere. You can run, you can hide but you will never get away from them, unless you don’t use a computer at all. While not going on the internet is a way to prevent from getting hit by a virus, it is not the end of your problems. While using a computer, it’s always better to be on the side of caution when working on a computer or mobile device on the internet.

For example, while finding a “lost” USB drive, flash drive, thumb drive, etc. seems like a good day, it can also mean harm to you and your computer. If you find a USB drive, make sure to not plug it into your computer! These lost USB drives can contain viruses once you plug them in. This is not to say every USB drive has a virus, but they could, just be aware.

So, what should you do if you find a USB stick and you want to locate the owner?

Unfortunately, the only safe way to view the contents is to use a machine that will not allow the writing of any files to a hard drive. A computer without a hard drive could be booted with a bootable DVD of a Linux distribution. This would allow a person to mount the USB stick to try to find clues to locate the owner.

As you can see, this “safe technique” is far beyond the technical understanding of the average person, and it is best left to a professional.

The best thing to do with a found USB stick is to turn it over to the nearest lost and found.

Our general tendency is towards helping others; however, in the case of a found USB stick, please resist the urge to plug it into a computer to view the contents.

How to not lose your USB drive?

Put in on your key ring, with your car keys.

As a precautionary measure, make sure to include your phone number as the “title” of your USB drive, instead of naming it “Jan’s Flash Drive.”

Additionally, virus attacks come in all forms, they are sneaky. Most virus attacks come through email. You may see an attachment to an email such as an “unpaid invoice,” a FOIA request, a word document, excel document, a zip file, a special “email only offer,” somebody asking for money because they are “stranded” or need “medical help.” If you are not expecting an attachment in an email, it is best to leave it and not open it. Make sure to mark the email as spam and block the sender.

Always use your gut feeling and common sense, it really goes a long way.

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