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Infectious USB’s

We all know what a virus infection is and can do to your computer/phone/tablet.  Remember when the most common way to get viruses on your computer was by putting in a floppy disk that had been infected? 

This sort of thing happened a lot in schools or other situations where people wanted to exchange information quickly.  The Internet, Email & file sharing were still in their infancy, so floppy disks were how we all shared files. “Sneakernet”, we called it! 

Anti-virus has gotten a lot better, and has been protecting us with the modern version of this same idea –with the USB drive. 

However, security researchers have discovered a new way that USB drives can be infected and can then pretend that they are other devices to your computer.  Imagine plugging in a USB drive, only to have it pretend to be a keyboard, and track all your usernames and passwords! 

USB drives with this sort of hackery are not widespread yet, but it’s probably worth getting in the habit of being quite a bit more careful about where you use your USB stick/device. 

It’s also worth noting that this will not be limited to just USB sticks, as USB devices could be infected too. Your phone, your External Hard Drive, maybe even your keyboard or mouse. 

I'm sure that an update/fix for this will come out soon, but in the meantime, be vigilant and always take care with how you use your USB’s.  And as always, if you are unsure of what to do or need more advice, don’t hesitate to contact your local IT professional.


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