What If I Find A Random USB Drive? Should I Pick It And Use?


Short Bytes: What is the step you take when you come across a random USB stick? Very often, people stick it in their laptop without much thought. This could result in heavy losses in the form of virus infections, ransomware attack, or installation of some keylogger or adware. 

The popular TV show Mr. Robot (2nd favorite TV show at Fossbytes after Westworld) has changed the way computers and hackers are portrayed in popular culture. In one episode, a character named Romero says, “I’ve been in this game 27 years. Not once have I come across an animated singing virus.”

In another episode, one of the F-Society hacker drops few USB drives in a prison parking lot. One of the prison employees picks one USB and ends up infecting the computer network. In such a situation, what would you do? Will you pick up the USB drive and use it?

Earlier this year in September, we told you a study that confirmed the human behavior of plugging the random USB drives in the laptops as soon as possible. In another study from early-2016, it was found that at least 48% of people will pick up a random USB stick and plug it into their PCs.

One should remain careful if he/she comes across an unclaimed USB drive. The sensible step would be to ignore the USB drive. Just leave them be. Just in case you decide to pick it up, for whatever reasons, never plug them in. It’s a risk that’s not worth taking.

Some of you might be wondering — What could happen if I pick a stray USB and plug it in?

Well, it’s a known fact that hackers use it as a way to spread malware. It’s possible that the USB could be infected with malware. Apart from the well-known trojans and worms, your PC might also fall prey to ransomware, keyloggers, adware and other threats.

We’ve also repeatedly told you about advance attack mechanisms like the one employed in USB Killer.

Still, are some workarounds to use such USB safely?

Just in case you’re too eager to pick a USB drive and use it, there are some workarounds in the video embedded above.

Have something to add? Don’t forget to drop your views in the comments section below.

Also Read: Do I Really Need to Safely Eject USB Drives From PC? But What If I Don’t?

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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