Can a virus be in a memory stick?

  • Thread starter yungman
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Can virus infect memory stick? I backed up my files onto the memory stick from my infected laptop. Can virus get copied into the memory stick?

Can virus infect pdf, jpg, doxx or other files?

How can I scan the memory stick without worry about infecting another computer that try to scan the memory stick?

I am scanning the memory stick using Norton on my infected computer for the fun of it. Is Norton good? This is my first infection since I went to Norton at 2012, it's much better than McAfee. I remember I had so much trouble with McAfee before.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Can virus infect memory stick? I backed up my files onto the memory stick from my infected laptop. Can virus get copied into the memory stick?
Yes, if the infected file is copied to that USB. It may also get infected by the very nature of how the virus works, regardless if the infected file is copied or not to the USB.

Can virus infect pdf, jpg, doxx or other files?
Yes.

How can I scan the memory stick without worry about infecting another computer that try to scan the memory stick?

I am scanning the memory stick using Norton on my infected computer for the fun of it. Is Norton good? This is my first infection since I went to Norton at 2012, it's much better than McAfee. I remember I had so much trouble with McAfee before.
Norton is good. Every security product has its up and downs and reviews by, for example, PC World, can be helpful in choosing a product. If you plug the USB into another computer, it can infect that PC.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for the reply, how then can I disinfect the memory stick?

I just finish scanning the memory stick with Norton.......but with the infected computer only. It said everything is fine.

If I plug the stick into a clean computer, but not opening any files, just go straight to scanning with Norton, is it safe?

Any other safe scanning program I can download to scan the memory stick?

I am asking because I am thinking about wiping the infected laptop, I want to make sure the files in the memory stick is clean before I load all the stuffs back.
 
  • #5
Tom.G
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Before you plug that memory stick into another machine, make sure that machine has the 'Autoplay' setting turned Off. It is On by default. Instructions can be found with a Google search:
https://www.google.com/search?&q=windows+usb+autorun+disable

By default, Windows looks for a special file on a memory stick and automatically runs it every time the stick is plugged in. Some viruses take advantage of this feature and create that special file so they can infect the new machine. In fact, several years ago one country wanted to stop another country from refining material to make an atomic bomb. The result was the famous Stuxnet Worm that destroyed the refining equipment. It gained access thru a memory stick.
 
  • #6
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A common ploy was to drop infected sticks in parking lots in the hopes that some Good Samaritan would try to find the owner by plugging it in to his work computer and look for identifying info.
 
  • #7
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Thanks guys

Last night I reinstalled Norton 360 onto the infected computer again, everything was smooth. I ran complete scan on the computer, then I ran scan on the memory stick suspect to have the virus. After that, I downloaded the Norton Power Eraser, with the memory stick on the computer, I ran the Power Eraser again. You think I got rid of any virus. I did this cycle twice already.
 
  • #8
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About the original question. I was always told that just files copied doesn't trasfer a virus. There has to be a program or app running in order to get you the virus (at least for ordinary old fashioned viruses - not cookies, malware, trojan etc. ... - I am not sure, not an expert either). Is this true?
 
  • #9
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I read on Google, it's pretty scary!!! It almost sounds like you plug it in, you got it. They did not even mention disable autoplay. Pretty much said the best way is to bury it.
 
  • #10
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I read on Google, it's pretty scary!!! It almost sounds like you plug it in, you got it. They did not even mention disable autoplay. Pretty much said the best way is to bury it.
Lol
 
  • #11
phinds
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About the original question. I was always told that just files copied doesn't trasfer a virus. There has to be a program or app running in order to get you the virus (at least for ordinary old fashioned viruses - not cookies, malware, trojan etc. ... - I am not sure, not an expert either). Is this true?
I don't think so. One of the files you transfer could be infected and if you bring it back from the stick and run it, you're infected again

I read on Google, it's pretty scary!!! It almost sounds like you plug it in, you got it. They did not even mention disable autoplay. Pretty much said the best way is to bury it.
Yeah, I think that's about right, although if Norton says it's OK, I'd go with that. As you mentioned in your other post, Norton has good service. Also, their product is quite good. I've been using them for over 20 years and they've only missed one virus.
 
  • #12
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I don't think so. One of the files you transfer could be infected and if you bring it back from the stick and run it, you're infected again
True, but because you run it, not because you copy it. See the difference? I think just copying doesn't get you a virus. Of course I am not saying you shouldn't disinfect it using an antivirus. Just don't run the file until you disinfect ...
E.g. if you delete an infected file before you even run it, I think it's like it never existed (whether on computer, disc or USB).
However, experts can correct me, if I am wrong. (e.g. @Greg Bernhardt, @Mark44 or others)
Cf. also post #8 above etc.
 
  • #13
phinds
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True, but because you run it, not because you copy it. See the difference? I think just copying doesn't get you a virus. Of course I am not saying you shouldn't disinfect it using an antivirus. Just don't run the file until you disinfect ...
E.g. if you delete an infected file before you even run it, I think it's like it never existed (whether on computer, disc or USB).
However, experts can correct me, if I am wrong. (e.g. @Greg Bernhardt, @Mark44 or others)
Cf. also post #8 above etc.
See post #5
 
  • #14
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  • #15
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I am just waiting to talk to Norton and get their help before I do anything. I definitely am not going to plug into a clean computer.
 
  • #16
FactChecker
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Running the infected file is not the only way it can spread. It can take advantage of an application that opens it and has a weakness. I have not heard of any weakness in the copy utility and I think that a plain copy utility could be (and probably has been) made safe. If you disable autoplay and do a Norton scan (including Power Erasor) before doing anything else, I think you are reasonably safe.
 
  • #17
DavidSnider
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The only way a file on a memory stick is going to transmit a virus is:
1) It's some sort of auto-play file that gets executed
2) It's a file like a jpeg or pdf that's been specifically crafted to exploit a vulnerability in jpeg or pdf (or pick your file format) reader
3) It's a file like a word document or excel that has macros that can break out of the sandbox
4) It's exploiting some vulnerability in the USB driver\system hardware
5) It's an infected .exe that you run

Since ASLR and DEP this sort of thing has becoming increasingly difficult to do though, but still possible.
 
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  • #18
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  • #19
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Norton is saying your computer is clear of any malware/viruses. What is happening that makes you suspect your PC is infected?
 
  • #20
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Norton is saying your computer is clear of any malware/viruses. What is happening that makes you suspect your PC is infected?
While I was reading one of the article on Yahoo page, the screen change and said I a virus infected my computer, told me do not shut down computer, call Microsoft on the given number provided.

Then I tried to open Norton ( I have subscription), but it won't open. I went into "programs and features" to try to uninstall Norton 360, it won't do it. I went on Norton and downloaded the new version, it gave me a message it failed. I tried it a few time installing, somehow it installed and I used it to scan the computer and came out clean.

I chatted with Norton, the person remote controlled my computer and checked a lot of things, apparently the Norton was running correctly, he found no problem with my computer. He warned me that they cannot block web page the gave warning in words and he warn me not to call the numbers ( of cause I did not.). He referred me to call their virus removal team which I am going to call either tomorrow or the next day.

The computer has been behaving, I don't feel there is any difference from before. But I am not going to use this computer for my important email, buying on line until I can make sure the computer is clean.

I since reinstalled Norton 360 again and it was successful. I ran system scan twice and found nothing bad. I ran Norton Power Eraser twice and it's ok. I am starting to think the nothing is wrong with my computer, it's just a web page that try to get me to call their number and either give them money or get info from me.
 
  • #21
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As far as I know, those warnings are meaningless. They are not a virus, but rather a phishing attempt. DO NOT CALL THEM! They often lock up the browser, but they have no lasting effect after you kill the browser. If the system scan came up clean, I don't think that you have anything to worry about. Don't forget to update Norton with the latest updates before running the scan.
 
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  • #22
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I think it is if you call them, and they try to "correct the problem" (when there is none), that's when they charge for your services and infect your machine while working on it remotely.

If you could not close the pop up or browser, usually Ctrl-Alt-Del > Task Manager > and ending the browser will close it. However, one must be careful when one reopens the browser and the tabs are usually reinstated. If you are quick enough to close the offending pop up before it loads again, then that's great news.
 
  • #23
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I think it is if you call them, and they try to "correct the problem" (when there is none), that's when they charge for your services and infect your machine while working on it remotely.

If you could not close the pop up or browser, usually Ctrl-Alt-Del > Task Manager > and ending the browser will close it. However, one must be careful when one reopens the browser and the tabs are usually reinstated. If you are quick enough to close the offending pop up before it loads again, then that's great news.
They are not Microsoft. They are crooks looking for your personal information to steal your identity or they want access to your computer. Neither one is good. If you have not given them access and are running Norton, they have probably not yet infected your computer.

The browsers that I use will not reopen tabs without asking you first.
 
  • #24
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They are not Microsoft. They are crooks looking for your personal information to steal your identity or they want access to your computer.
Correct. I already know that.
 
  • #25
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While I was reading one of the article on Yahoo page, the screen change and said I a virus infected my computer, told me do not shut down computer, call Microsoft on the given number provided.
These are usually ads, connected with some malware. If you ingnore them and be careful they are not a big deal. Nothing happens, unless you click something. [The virus, if any at all, gets in e.g. when you click their allegedly disinfecting directions.] I usually close the browser or the tab as soon as I see them, to avoid hitting those windows by mistake. If you want you can restart your computer too, ASAP, just to be on the safe side. [Sometimes I think the latter works even after the malware hits you, and I think if you restart fast it's one way to stop or get rid of a possible connected to the ad virus, if any at all.] Or do as the other guys advised.

The point is do not believe such messages and never click on what they ask you to do. Another way they appear is as numbered messages (e.g. red alert ' "2" new messages') on an app or site or something. Never click them, unless they come from your computer, eligible real apps, or your antivirus. Such messages are usually not expected and should make you suspicious. Just ignore them.

These are common types of malware in apps or web sites. (Usually they are connected to an ad, but they can act in other ways too, which I am not really an expert to iterate.) You meet them in smart phones too.

told me do not shut down computer
Smart trick! It was advising you not to do the certain thing that would avoid or kill it! ...
Malware ...
... Norton ... I tried it a few time installing, somehow it installed and I used it to scan the computer and came out clean.
I since reinstalled Norton 360 again and it was successful. I ran system scan twice and found nothing bad. I ran Norton Power Eraser twice and it's ok. I am starting to think the nothing is wrong with my computer, it's just a web page that try to get me to call their number and either give them money or get info from me.
Possibly correct. That or it is a real malware and Norton just doesn't pick it up. Good anti-viruses can pick up (detect) most malware, even though new ones come out all the time. I better use Bitdefender or Panda. Last time I checked they had larger "scanning spectrum" than Norton or McAfee etc. ...
 

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