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Should I throw away my thumb drive?

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I reset a friend's computer, on which MBAM found (and deleted zero) over 5,700 pieces of malware.  Windows 8 sucessfully re-installed, full wipe.  It was that bad.  Rootkits and probably everything else under the sun.  I never disabled the network card, although I never specifically allowed it to access my network, confirmed when Spybot and MBAM couldn't access the network.


I used a cheap thumb drive, only 2GB, to download (from my PC), a few trusted cleaners, such as MBAM... and then had it plugged into the infected PC for many hours.


Should I toss it in the garbage?  Note that I never saved anything to it from the infected PC, but: can malware write to my thumbdrive?  People have told me, "just scan it."

That would involve plugging it in to a fresh, new PC.   I'm not going to do that to my PC, given where the thumb drive has been.


2nd question, along the same lines.  I burned all her family photos, 4.5GB of them, to a DVD before the wipe.  I plan on scanning the DVD when we set up Windows again at her house tomorrow, just to make sure none of the files are infected.  But, what if they are?  It's burned with Nero, in the non-rewriteable mode.  Should we just toss all those pics, too?  Will the DVD infect her fresh PC when I transfer the photos folder into her new OS?


Thanks in advance.

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Addendum:  Can loads of 5,700 pieces of malware break into, on their own, a home network?


She dropped her PC off at my apartment, I turned it on and tried to work on it myself in my rudimentary manner (I say this after reading dozens of threads here tonight and regretting not asking here and following all you folks' instructions, and resetting Win8.

Yesterday -- GET THIS -- my ZTE Warp Sync phone decided to change my lock screen.  While this lady's PC was on in my apt.  My normal picture-and-longpress-to-unlock screen was replaced by (WHICH ISN'T POSSIBLE IN MY ANDROID OS) an apple-style slide-to-unlock screen.  I've owned it for more than a year and I've never seen this happen.  I did the "slide-to-unlock" thing four times yesterday with my phone in close proximity to this Patient Zero machine.  And back to normal late last night when I turned this incredible thing off.


Am I paranoid?  It happened.  And I don't download jack on my phone.  Her compy is not connected to my WIFI (AFAIK), and doesn't have Bluetooth.


I owned my XP machine for almost 10 years.  I went about 4 without ever running Spybot or MBAM.  Then I did.  It found nothing.


Last night I turned her PC off and my phone stopped doing that.  How is this flippin' possible?


Oh, it's an all-in-one, too.  Compy inside monitor.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello Captcha.

If you are super duper concerned about the possibility of the USB-flash being truly infected, then throw it away.

All that I can says is, a) You can if you had to, IF you must do so, hold down the SHIFT-key when you insert the  USB drive in.

Then either REFORMAT the USB

and / or Scan the entire USB with a antivirus program.    ( Not our program but a true *antivirus* program, like McAfee, ESET, Kaspersky antivirus, etc).


A old 2 GB thumb drive is not worth all this paranoia.

Otherwise, I cannot help you about any smartphone / cell phone.


As to Windows computers in general, and why some get super infected, etc, and how to prevent that.

I am going to list for you 2 sections of advice.

( 1)
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium provides active real-time protection against most commonly prevalent malware "currently out in the wild".
But even if you have that it would not get your machine total immunity.

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit provides passive ( background ) protection against zero-day type exploits and Windows exploits & web browser & Java exploits.
We have a free version Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (MBAE) that protects against exploit attacks.  Install it if you do not already have it on this machine.
"the download link for the setup utility is this":https://downloads.malwarebytes.org/file/mbae_current/

If you do not have it, I would recommend you install the Anti-Exploit in free use mode.  Save the setup first.  Then run to install.
If you are a heavy user of MS Office, you are urged to considering the Premium Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit.

( 2 )
*In brief, no one single program is going to give you a all-perfect shield.*  A lot depends on what computer users do, their daily safety practices, and the security protocol at your place.

Our softwares detect the most prevalent malwares out in the wild.   But there is no guarantee whatever if one single computer user at your place lets their guard down, and for example, opens a bad attachment or is super quick to click without checking, especially with email.
In addition, be aware that crypto ransomwares continuously evolve and has rapid change cycles.  Newer versions are coming out quicker. Thus "their tell-tale fingerprints" change all the time.

Please keep in mind that your antivirus is in the front line of your computer protection.
Next, comes your software firewall.
and hopefully somewhere, ahead of your computer’s internet connection is a hardware router. ( another layer of protection).
Only after all these, does our software come into the picture. It is designed as a supplement.
That is a brief rundown on the need for a layered set of protections.

No one single security application can detect and remove all threats, it’s a statistical impossibility.

We update MBAM as many as a dozen times per day and are always researching and adding new detection and removal routines to the database.
Our research team is constantly analyzing and reviewing new infections for inclusion into our database. With the prevalence of new variants and infections the staff is working around the clock.
All security programs will still not be able to catch everything at some point, this is a given known fact and is the main reason why security professionals across the globe strongly advocate a ‘layered’ approach to security:
Dedicated antivirus
Dedicated antimalware
Third party firewalls
Backups on a regular basis of all important personal documents, files, etc. Backup is your best friend.

*Other notes:*
Safer practices & malware prevention:
Follow best practices when browsing the Internet, especially on opening links coming from untrusted sources.
Never open attachments that come with unexpected ( out of the blue ) email no matter how enticing.
Never open attachments from the email itself.  Do not double click in the email.  Always Save first and then scan with antivirus program.

Never click links without first hovering your mouse over the link and seeing if it is going to an odd address   ( one that does not fit or is odd looking or has typos).

Use a Standard user account rather than an administrator-rights account when "surfing" the web.
See more info on Corrine's SecurityGarden Blog http://securitygarden.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_7.html
Dont remove your current login.  Just use the new Standard-user-level one for everyday use while on the internet.

Configure your Antivirus software to check for updates daily, at a time in which you are sure the computer will be on.

Check in at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com]Windows Update and install any Important Updates offered.

Make certain that Automatic Updates is enabled.
How to configure and use Automatic Updates in Windows

Pay close attention when installing 3rd-party programs. It is important that you pay attention to the license agreements and installation screens when installing anything off of the Internet. If an installation screen offers you Custom or Advanced installation options, it is a good idea to select these as they will typically disclose what other 3rd party software will also be installed.
Take great care in every stage of the process and every offer screen, and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next".

Check on other update issues as well, by getting, installing and using Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) on a regular basis.
See How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Keep your system and programs up to date. Several programs release security updates on a regular basis to patch vulnerabilities. Keeping your software patched up prevents attackers from being able to exploit them to drop malware.

Make regular off-line backups of your system.  A rotating set of 2 or 3 generations on separate discs is the best if possible.
Backup is your best friend.

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