Can a virus infect a flash drive?

Posted on 2013-06-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-22
Hi experts,

My friend (and yes it was a friend and not I) brought his computer to me because it had 41 viruses. I could list them, but it's not the question. Basically, they were bad viruses, because even though you could get to the desktop and open Control Panel and My Computer, that was about it. Click on any icon and nothing. Click on System Restore and nothing. The mouse pointer randomly moved. You definitely couldn't click on MBAM and have it open.

I had SAS and ComboFix and MBAM on my flash drive. Couldn't install them any way. You also couldn't boot into safe mode as it loaded drivers, and you then got a blue screen of death saying you probably had a virus. So, I basically gave up and told him to reformat it.

Soooo my question was. I opened My Computer and formatted my flash drive. The second the window popped up saying the format was successful, I pulled out the drive. It took maybe a second. So, my two questions are, 1) can a flash drive be infected by a virus, and 2) if it can, could it do it that fast?

I just don't want to pass a virus from his computer to my computer.


Question by:Bert2005
  • 3
  • 2
LVL 75

Accepted Solution

käµfm³d   👽 earned 2000 total points
ID: 39258471
1) Yes
2) In theory, yes.

Author Comment

ID: 39258483
So, if it were your flash drive would you put it in your home computer and format it and/or run a quick scan on it or just throw it away? Cost about $20.00 or $30.00. But, I suppose having to reformat your computer and try to remove a difficult virus isn't worth $20.00.
LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:käµfm³d 👽
ID: 39258491
I would run a Linux live disk and install ClamAV (or similar), and then scan the drive from the live Linux system. The drive can even be formatted from right within Linux.
WEBINAR: GDPR Implemented - Tips & Lessons Learned

Join the WatchGuard team on Thursday, March 29th as we recount some valuable lessons learned in weighing the needs of a business against the new regulatory environment, look ahead at the two months left before implementation, and help you understand the steps you can take today!


Author Closing Comment

ID: 39258493
Thanks kaufmed for your help.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 39259203
Use usb-set to insure you need never worry again.

Author Comment

ID: 39260085
Thanks tzucker,

I didn't even know that existed.

Featured Post

Keep up with what's happening at Experts Exchange!

Sign up to receive Decoded, a new monthly digest with product updates, feature release info, continuing education opportunities, and more.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

Join & Write a Comment

These are on the increase and getting more common these days. Users who use the Google search engine may complain of having their search redirected to unwanted sites, regardless of what browser is used. This happens when the system is infected with…
If you are looking at this article, you have most likely been hit by some version of ransomware and are trying to find out if there is anything you can do, or what way you should react - READ ON!
Established in 1997, Technology Architects has become one of the most reputable technology solutions companies in the country. TA have been providing businesses with cost effective state-of-the-art solutions and unparalleled service that is designed…
Email security requires an ever evolving service that stays up to date with counter-evolving threats. The Email Laundry perform Research and Development to ensure their email security service evolves faster than cyber criminals. We apply our Threat…

627 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question