Beware allowing others' USB Keys on your computer

  Splodge 10:23 21 Sep 10
Locked

Twice now I have allowed a neighbour to use my computer to edit items on her USB key and paid the price of getting a virus for my trouble.

Briefly, my neighbour, who is foreign born,is training as a nurse. Her english has very much improved and her keyboard skills excellent.

But, it appears that student nurses allow each other access to their study work, sometimes third or fourth hand, using usb keys.

Well, it is no different to reading books, which is how most of us learn, but these students change the text to avoid the suspicion of copying and in the process also correct spelling errors.

The thing is, reading the article does not necessarily unleash any virus embedded but opening the file does! Fortunately they are not usually catastrophic viruses but simple ones. I cannot blame the originators, student larks and all that!

So, my student asked to open this particular file, which had a distinctive layout, in order to change it suficiently to claim it as her own!

My AVG anti-virus immediately gave a warning! Still I had a new backup and could overwrite the drive with no harm done!

The worry is, a more malicious virus could destroy everything on the computer so, with the best will in the world ... NO OUTSIDE USB KEYS, sorry!

I would make it a policy, now that 8 and 16Gb usb's are so cheap, never to allow another's key to be iserted into your computer!

  johndrew 10:37 21 Sep 10

I understand both your concern and willingness to help others. Perhaps, if you want to consider continuing to allow 'foreign' USB keys to be used in your PC you should also consider using a Sandbox for the data to be run within click here. There are several free versions of which I believe Sandboxie click here is one of the best.

Hope this helps.

  johndrew 10:40 21 Sep 10

Correction. I meant to say "There are several free versions but I believe Sandboxie click here is one of the best."

  jimv7 14:31 21 Sep 10

Why not virus scan the usb stick before opening it.

  northumbria61 14:49 21 Sep 10

I am with jimv7 - it would be simple to do an AVG scan on the USB key which is something I always do with any download before an install.

  Nontek 14:59 21 Sep 10

If I understand your original post correctly, you are helping these 'Medical' students to cheat!!

I hope none of them attempt to treat me at some time in the future ....

  Woolwell 15:01 21 Sep 10

This is an old problem usb drives/sticks now instead of floppy disc. It used to be a major way of getting viruses in the days of floppies. My security suite (Kaspersky) automatically prompts to scan any external device which is attached.

  Splodge 16:11 21 Sep 10

I would have thought that saying to the USB key owner "would you mind if I scanned your USB for a virus" would be treated as a personal slur by its owner! I do not have the nerve.

On the subject of "cheating", I believe the practice is general in all centres of learning.

I might add, in the case of this particular student, she took a university course in computing and was virtually unable to do much more than switch one on after her course. She told me that the students were left to their own devices most of the time, their lecturer wasn't interested and they were only there to satisfy their student grants!

Such is the reality of life today. I must also say that I although I left school at 14 and am 80, I frequently write letters for acquaintances
many years younger even though they left school at 16!

Meanwhile, if you care to talk to those from the Indian sub-continent, you will find them literate, smart and anxious to ensure their children are well educated. No wonder we are being swamped ... we offer no challenge to them!

Oh, and yes, I have been there, and most parts of the third world too! Royal and Merchant Navy feature strongly on my old CV.

  Devil Fish 20:32 21 Sep 10

Yep same as woolwell kapersky prompts me to scan as soon as an external device is plugged in

  grey george 21:00 21 Sep 10

I'm sure a worldly wise old sea dog like you (meant as a compliment) would be able to convince your neighbour that your computer will not allow access to the USB drive unless it has been virus scanned. Blame a recent software upgrade.
As for the cheating this is common place throughout our education system. Pupils are expected to submit graphic laden type set projects. If you hand wrote it with pencil drawings you would receive a low grade. The establishments are paid by pupil numbers so they offer pointless courses just to get funding. It's all about keeping people off the unemployment figures not education.

  grey george 19:18 23 Sep 10

This news story gives a lot of support to stand point. click here

Rather worrying.

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