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External Storage Devices - Checking for Viruses

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#1 Katrex


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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:18 PM


Looking for some advice on this matter...

I have a few SD Cards (1 GB each), a 1GB USB Stick, and an internal HDD on an external enclosure to turn it into an external drive. I'm worried that one (or more) of these may have infections of some kind. I don't want to just start plugging them into my computer (and risk my computer being infected), but I would like to be able to use these devices.

What is the best way to check these for infections and clean them if any are present?

I do have AutoRun turned off (for everything) on my Laptop, and figured I could just plug them in and scan them from there but I really just wanted to be sure.

System: Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit; Service Pack 2. [If it matters.]

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#2 Katrex

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:28 PM

I'm not sure what the etiquette on bumping is here, I skimmed the sticky topics and didn't notice anything - however, I'm still curious about this.

#3 Swordie


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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:32 PM

Since you have Autorun off, you can plug them into your laptop, and run Avast's drive scans. You can scan your external and your flash memory cards and drives for viruses, and it will quarantine them. And if you have Avast's resident shield on, any viruses that come into contact with your computer is automatically quarantined.
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#4 garmanma


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 09:36 AM

Please download
Flash_Disinfector.exe by sUBs and save it to your desktop.
  • Double-click Flash_Disinfector.exe to run it and follow any prompts that may appear.
  • The utility may ask you to insert your flash drive and/or other removable drives. Please do so and allow the utility to clean up those drives as well.
  • Hold down the Shift key when inserting the drive until Windows detects it to keep autorun.inf from executing if it is present.
  • Wait until it has finished scanning and then exit the program.
  • Reboot your computer when done.
Note: As part of its routine, Flash_Disinfector will create a hidden folder named autorun.inf in each partition and every USB drive that was plugged in when you ran it. Do not delete this folder...it will help protect your drives from future infection by keeping the autorun file from being installed on the root drive and running other malicious files.

What it does:

The vaccination is two fold. If the computer's autorun settings are enabled, then files can spread to any drive that's plugged in. If the drives themselves are vaccinated, all the tool does is prevent the autorun.inf file from executing any of the malicious content that may have been copied to the drive when it's plugged in.

In other words, say you vaccinate your USB drive. The tool writes an autorun.inf file that's harmless. When it's inserted in a computer that does not have autorun disabled, the computer will attempt to read and process the autorun.inf file from the inserted drive. If an infection that spreads to network or USB drives is present on the computer, the infection may very well succeed in putting the files on the drive, but they will not be able to overwrite the autorun.inf file and as such the files will not run without user input (i.e. actually clicking on them).

If the computer's infected and that infection tries to multiply to external drives, then yes, it'll likely copy some files to it. You could then remove those as they wouldn't be running automatically once the drive's inserted in another PC. Nothing you do will stop files from being copied over to an external drive if an infection of that type is present on the system. Well, technically you can prevent that by setting the write protect mode, but not every USB drive has one of those and it prevents writing anything to the drive.

flash drive portable AV

Download "ClamWin Portable Antivirus", put it on your USB Flash Drive, update its definition files and perform a scan.

Then download Panda USB and AutoRun Vaccine and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
  • Extract (unzip) the file to your desktop and a folder named USBVaccine will be created.
  • Open that folder and double-click on USBVaccine.exe to start the program.
  • Click Run.
  • Click the button to Vaccinate computer..
  • Insert your USB drive.
  • When the name of the drive appears in the dialog box, click the button to Vaccinate USB drive(s).
  • Exit the program when done
Note: Computer Vaccination will prevent any AutoRun file from running, regardless of whether the removable device is infected or not. USB Vaccination disables the autorun file so it cannot be read, modified or replaced by malicious code. The Panda Resarch Blog advises that once USB drives have been vaccinated, they cannot be reversed except with a format. If you do this, be sure to back up your data files first or they will be lost during the formatting process.
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