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Playing IT safe: Removable media and viruses

removable mediaRemovable media (CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives and portable hard disk drives) are commonplace in our technologically-enhanced lives. While ease-of-use and portability of removable media increases, the spread of malware via these devices is also on the increase.

How do external media get infected with malware?

A few examples of how external media can get infected:

  • Using shared or multiple computers.
  • Using peer-to-peer file sharing software.
  • Opening infected email attachments and image files.
  • Clicking infected links and downloads on the internet.

How to prevent external media from getting infected with malware

  • Keep your operating system updated - Windows Updates for a Windows machine, and Software Updates for an Apple machine.
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer, e.g. McAfee.
  • Keep your anti-virus software and definitions updated.
  • Run a virus scan on your computer and on all removable media before use.

How to remove malware from your computer and external media

  1. Disable System Restore before running a malware scan.
    • Run a virus scan on your computer and the external media you want to use.
  2. Scan the media and your computer with anti-spyware software, such as Ad-aware, Spybot etc.
  3. Contact the CSIRT if you are unable to remove the malware from your computer and external media.