USB Virus Alert
"BadUSB" malware can overtake your computer and re-direct internet traffic to different sites while it streams your data to 3rd parties. Experts have recently found that USBs drives (sometimes called 'flash drives' or 'memory sticks') can contract a a newly discovered undetectable and un-fixable virus that can easily spread from any USB to your computer and entire network.
Since USB drives have become a favorite form of 'swag' given away at professional trade shows and conferences users should be aware of the possibility that some of these giveaways might be giving you more than you bargained for.
One of the biggest problems lies not only in the ability of the virus to auto-execute computer code to perform various malicious acts, but in its seeming inability to be detected because the virus is designed to 'mix itself' into the USB firmware that tells the USB how to operate, work with the computer, and how the computer recognizes the device. The result is that USBs should no longer be considered as 'secure devices', even 'brand new' USBs being distribued from a customized shipment because the virus can potentially be sourced from a machine that infects every USB it touches.
In order to avoid this type of malware you should (1) be conscious of the risk you run when you receive a 'free' USB (as at a trade show) and always run a full 'virus scan' of the USB prior to any real use; (2) don't leave your computer accessible where anyone could access it and plug in a USB drive into a port, and (3) keep your security programs (like Norton, McAfee, ESET, and others) comprehensive and up-to-date to shield against malware and other buggies that are trying to wreak havoc with your digital data, in so doing insure that you have any option for your security software to 'run scans' of USB drives turned-on in order to protect your system, in other words 'don't disable' the option to scan USB drives.