The increase in size of the current pendrives has practically left our CD or DVD burners unused and unused. An aspect that has to do with both the comfort offered by these devices and the cost savings of a pendrive. So much so that today we can find pendrives of 64 GB capacity for 10 euros, with enough capacity to store up to 15 of those DVDs inside.
But not everything is price and space, but there is also a comfort component. Specifically, the one that offers us the operation of the device. Simply plug the pen drive into any USB port to access its content, copy it or modify it in the way that suits us. An advantage that becomes a problem when it comes to fighting viruses, since these products become an easy target both to introduce viruses into our computer and to distribute and infect other computers.
Luckily, companies dedicated to computer security are aware of this problem and have already thought of methods to keep the pen drives we use safe without this being a risk. A protection that, in addition, is double because it protects both the pendrive itself and our computer. Let us know how to protect our pendrives against viruses and other attacks.
How to clean a pendrive from viruses
One of the problems we have when trying to clean a pendrive of viruses and other malware is the auto activation of malicious software at the moment we connect it to the PC. In other words, at the moment in which we “click” the pendrive on the USB port of our PC or laptop, the virus will be activated and, therefore, we run the risk of the infection spreading to this equipment. It is one of the mechanisms that the virus uses to spread although, fortunately, it has a remedy.
To avoid this problem, simply restart Windows in Safe Mode, also called “Safe Mode”. To do this, we only have to restart Windows and press the F8 key during startup and before the Windows logo appears. The logo takes just seconds to exit, so we must do it quickly.
Once in this mode of use we have the peace of mind that we can connect the pendrive without risk of infection for the equipment. At this point we must have an antivirus software, which we will use on the pendrive to look for those viruses or malware that may be causing problems. Within these applications we have all kinds of proposals, ranging from solutions already integrated in Windows to commercial solutions of different computer security companies.
However, although Windows tools have improved considerably in both quality and efficiency, many users still prefer commercial solutions. Among them we can find AVG, Avast or Panda, among others. Many of these antiviruses also have free versions, open to be used without paying anything and that work with the same efficiency as the payment ones when it comes to finding threats.
We can also use complementary programs such as MalwareBytes, dedicated to search for all types of spyware, malware, adware and other threats on the computer. In any case, you can always try several tools and keep the one you like best.
By the way, although we have not mentioned it yet, to clean an infected pendrive you can always resort to formatting it. A drastic solution that, in general, should be enough to eliminate any threat from within. However, once the formatting is executed, it is worth checking with our trusted antivirus that he himself has disappeared, as some may hide in the pendrive system area and remain hidden.
As a final step, once we have done cleaning, it is time to pass the rinse aid. A process in which we will turn to applications like CCleaner. This tool is responsible for completely analyzing our equipment and cleaning both the Windows logs and the rest of the system of those unwanted elements that the virus may have left. A process that also helps us to improve the performance of the operating system and achieve better efficiency in its execution.
So far we have seen some methods to act against infections and prevent viruses from affecting our team. However, as in so many other aspects of life, prevention work is essential. With a few small premises, it is easy to prevent our pendrive from being affected by a virus and can cause damage.
One of these recommendations is to avoid, whenever possible, the use of public shared computers and with little security. We speak, for example, of the computer that we have at our disposal in some copy shops or photocopy stores, through which dozens of pendrives can pass per day.
When using these devices, it will always be better to access via browser a copy of what we want to print that we have stored in the cloud or elsewhere. A principle that we can also extend to the computers present in places where they have PCs for public use such as Internet cafes, computer rooms of faculties or institutes and other similar locations.
Another practical recommendation is to keep the risk as limited as possible. Something that is achieved with proper discipline and a pair of pendrives, at least. The idea is that we have a single pendrive for when it is necessary to use it in any of the places that we have mentioned before, while the rest of the pendrives that we have should only be used on computers or laptops that we have at home, at work or in that safe environment, where only we touch. Thus we avoid spreading a possible infection or the proliferation of it among the different pendrives that we use daily.
Finally, if we usually use pendrives from unsafe environments it would often be advisable to deactivate the automatic playback option, so that the pendrive simply connects but does not execute anything until we tell it to. A good way to prevent the spread of many viruses, which just take advantage of this function to replicate to the PC.