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Can a virus infect a flash drive?

Posted on 2013-06-18
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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.

Thanks.

Bert
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Question by:Bert2005
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6 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

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

by:Bert2005
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.
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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.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bert2005
ID: 39258493
Thanks kaufmed for your help.
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Expert Comment

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

by:Bert2005
ID: 39260085
Thanks tzucker,

I didn't even know that existed.
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