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Hacker on Laptop; Is Flash Drive Safe?


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#1
beachie

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Long story short: Found out my Internet account has been hacked into, which I assume means my computer has something nasty on it. The day before I made this discovery, I backed up some files onto my flash drive. Now I'm concerned about the safety of my flash drive. I don't want to infect any computers...I don't know how this whole hacking thing works. Is my flash drive safe to use? I need to access documents on there, as well as I can't lose any files that are on there.

Thanks in advance!
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#2
Digerati

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Your first concern needs to be to ensure the flash drive is not infected, and that it does not infect any host computer. Most of these infections are due to autorun being enabled on that computer. See How to Disable Autorun.

Once Autorun is disabled, and after ensuring the host computer is current, and properly secured, you can insert the device, then scan it with your updated anti-malware applications. You might also check out sUBs Flash Disinfector
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#3
beachie

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Thanks Digerati!

I have to say I'm not confident in changing anything in the registry. Is there a way to temporarily disable autorun? I read I could hit the shift key while inserting the flash drive.

The infected laptop is in quarantine until I can get it to my tech guy to clean it. For now I'm using the slowest desktop on the planet. I have scanned the computer. Nothing comes up. I would like to scan the flash drive so I can be sure it's clean. Would a scan detect if it has antorun malware/virus?
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#4
Digerati

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Would a scan detect if it has antorun malware/virus?

The danger comes if Autorun is enabled. Simply inserting the flash drive causes it to "auto" run. So any scan would be after the fact, unless it is already inserted, then you can only hope you are still safe.

The problem with the shift key is that it is only temporary - you must never forget to press the shift key. If you are concerned with messing with the Registry, then I might suggest the Microsoft Power Toy, TweakUI (the download link is on the right).

From the TweakUI menu, click on My Computer > AutoPlay, and under the Types section, disable autoplay by unchecking the options, then OK your way out.
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