Can a virus be in a memory stick?

  • Thread starter yungman
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  • #51
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Please be more specific about exactly what you mean by cloning once a month, and about how that plus backing up a month of work files on USB sticks would eliminate your need for AV products.
When cloning a drive an exact copy of the drive including its MBR, or GPT and partitions is created directly to the target location. This means you get an immediate copy including the hard disk structure, cluster by cluster and sometimes sector by sector ( bad sectors included.) A cloned disk or drive contains all the partition structure from the source disk or drive. A cloned system HDD or SSD that contains the operating system can be mounted as a new drive and immediately booted.

With ordinary backup where the entire content of the selected drive or partition are backed up into a file ( known as an Image ) on to the target location, a backup software is required in order to restore the system or data to a previous state or access the files and documents in the drive. As a result the drive is never bootable. The backup software may or maynot reside inside a drive already infected with a virus thus rendering the newly created copy infected again. Thus the file image ( residing on a separate USB or HDD ) will always be clean, yet the machine used as to re-instate the copy usable again, won't be!

With Cloning you dispense with the infected drive or drives 100%, and your system immediately boots without further action.
 
  • #52
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What you said is accurate; what about the second part of the question -- please describe in a bit more detail how you envision using cloning to eliminate the need for AV software.
 
  • #53
russ_watters
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What you said is accurate; what about the second part of the question -- please describe in a bit more detail how you envision using cloning to eliminate the need for AV software.
I think @Quasimodo is saying you can just restore from the clone if you get an infection so there is no need to attempt prevention. Altogether this is a very bad strategy because:
1. It allows infections to happen (and spread).
2. It allows loss of data to happen(even if only a day).
3. It assumes the infection will manifest instantly and the clone won't be infected, which is just so not true.
 
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  • #54
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1. It allows infections to happen (and spread).
2. It allows loss of data to happen(even if only a day).
3. It assumes the infection will manifest instantly and the clone won't be infected, which is just so not true.
Assuming everything you've said it's true:

In case of a virus failure detection, would you like to re-install your OS and all programs from scratch or plug in a clone disk and continue your work from where you left off?
No, the clone will never be infected, the ONE clone that will contain your OS and your programs and your most valuable files. You will have many other updated copies if you wish but not this ONE!

Disease ( virus ) is bad, cure ( anti-virus ) is better, a new man ( clone ) is best!
 
  • #55
russ_watters
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In case of a virus failure detection, would you like to re-install your OS and all programs from scratch or plug in a clone disk and continue your work from where you left off?
Yes, cloning is a good recovery strategy. But it is not a substitute for prevention or removal.
No, the clone will never be infected
That isn't true: it assumes you will notice the infection - without a virus scanner(!) - before your clone is infected. Odds of that happening are very low. Lots and lots of viruses have latency/incubation periods specifically for that reason. Obviously a virus has to spread to be successful, which means it has to use the host to spread before destroying the host.
 
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  • #56
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No, the clone will never be infected
This is not my whole sentence.
The whole sentence is:
No, the clone will never be infected, the ONE clone that will contain your OS and your programs and your most valuable files. You will have many other updated copies if you wish but not this ONE!
Yes, cloning is a good recovery strategy. But it is not a substitute for prevention or removal.
Yes, substituting with an uninfected clone is 100% virus removal. Prevention is the anti-virus. Cloning is the 100% successful removal and restoration of our system to its original pristine condition.
 
  • #57
Dr Transport
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Yes, substituting with an uninfected clone is 100% virus removal. Prevention is the anti-virus. Cloning is the 100% successful removal and restoration of our system to its original pristine condition.

again, as many have already said, provided that you know the disk is comprimised. You don't know that a-prior i, therefore you don't know if your monthly clone is virus free or not.
 
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  • #58
russ_watters
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This is not my whole sentence.
The whole sentence is:
No, the clone will never be infected, the ONE clone that will contain your OS and your programs and your most valuable files. You will have many other updated copies if you wish but not this ONE!
If you're saying you would clone your system right after installing all of your software, then make additional clones later with recent backups, that's fine, and I've done it in the past when I used to install and try a lot of software (the shareware days), but it still doesn't help you with the data loss issue in the more recent backups. It means you can get a do-over of your system from when it was first set up, but you still lose some amount of data depending on how many and how frequent your other backups are.
Cloning is the 100% successful removal and restoration of our system to its original pristine condition.
That's fine, as long as you recognize it still could mean losing some or all of your data generated since the original clone. It's still a terrible idea as a substitute for a virus scanner.

And, of course, you need a virus scanner to identify which of your clones are infected and which aren't, unless you want to install all of them, one at a time, until you get to the clean one.
 
  • #59
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If you're saying you would clone your system right after installing all of your software, then make additional clones later with recent backups, that's fine, and I've done it in the past when I used to install and try a lot of software (the shareware days), but it still doesn't help you with the data loss issue in the more recent backups. It means you can get a do-over of your system from when it was first set up, but you still lose some amount of data depending on how many and how frequent your other backups are.
That's fine, as long as you recognize it still could mean losing some or all of your data generated since the original clone. It's still a terrible idea as a substitute for a virus scanner.

And, of course, you need a virus scanner to identify which of your clones are infected and which aren't, unless you want to install all of them, one at a time, until you get to the clean one.

I think we agree. I think the OP's question was how to safely read a USB memory stick and not get infected by a virus. To which I replied take a clone copy of your disks first and then read. ( At least that's what I hoped that it was understood, hence no need for anti-virus.) Then we got lost to what a disk imaging and disk cloning really is...
 
  • #60
russ_watters
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I think we agree. I think the OP's question was how to safely read a USB memory stick and not get infected by a virus. To which I replied take a clone copy of your disks first and then read. ( At least that's what I hoped that it was understood, hence no need for anti-virus.) Then we got lost to what a disk imaging and disk cloning really is...
No, we don't agree (except that the nuts and bolts of how you use the clone(s) isn't the issue). The issue is that your advice/position that a virus scanner isn't needed is very bad advice. There is no way to use a clone that eliminates the need for a virus scanner.
 
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  • #61
Dr Transport
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Let me add one more comment. I work in a place where we have constant virus scanners running on all systems, even those that are not connected to the internet. As far we are concerned, if you touch the internet just once, you are compromised. The only way you can be completely sure you don't have anything on your computer is to NEVER touch the internet, install software from media from the original provider and never load a file from an external source. Right now, that would eliminate pretty much any and all external software, Windows, Office365 etc since it is only loaded from online. Even Matlab would be difficult since you don't get any media any longer.

Kind of limits your productivity doesn't it.
 
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