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Virus protection for a USB stick

Started by cicero, February 22, 2015, 08:24:09 PM

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Hi, everyone.

I have two USB drives one containing Mint 17 and the other Peppermint 5 and have used them to install Mint 17 and P5 on my own and two friends laptops with help from members of this forum.

It occurred to me today that it might be possible to acquire a virus on the drives either from an infected laptop or somewhere else - is this so or is this merely
a product of my imagination?

If it is a risk - albeit slight perhaps - how can I protect the drives?  I have had a look at various options from around the web and there appears to be many but
I would prefer to seek advice here where there is expertise and experience.

So, assuming there is a risk is there a simple way to protect a USB drive that I can employ?

Cheers, folks.

Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

There's nothing specific you can do for "USB sticks"

For protecting Windows against autostarting an infected Windows executable on a USB stick....

If you're going to plug USB sticks into a PC running Windows, make sure Windows is set NOT to autostart anything from removeable media

Or on a Linux PC make sure there is no "autostart.ini" file in the root of the USB stick

The chances that any of the Linux files have become infected with a Windows virus is pretty much nil .. Windows won't be able to execute Linux binaries

Protecting the Linux Live Session.....

The chances that the Linux Live session is infected is with a Linux virus is pretty much nil because:-
a) there aren't any in the wild
b) the image contained even on a LiveUSB is NOT writeable .. only the persistence file is writeable, and AFAIK there have never been any viruses that specifically targeted overlay file systems.

The upshot of this is....

The Linux Live session is as safe as any installed Linux as far as viruses go .. maybe more so .. so don't worry about Linux

If you also use the USB stick as a normal USB stick in Windows .. such as copying files to the USB stick's FAT32 file system for transfer to a Windows PC, the USB stick should be treated as any other USB stick in Windows and not autostart anything even if an autostart.ini file is present, and should be scanned for viruses in Windows before transferring anything from it.

That make sense ?
WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root'
logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.


Hi, Mark

Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate your time and expertise and advice.

Best wishes.

Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root'
logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.