From time-to-time i have been encountering problems on my USB sticks, especially after i have inserted my sticks into other PC units. However, all virus and spyware threats from my USB sticks were all thwarted by my reliable McAfee anti-virus program by the time i plug my sticks into my laptop.
I have stumbled a free application offering vaccine on USB sticks. It’s the Panda USB vaccine. I tried it and it works. It can “vaccinate” your PC and your USB sticks and ultimately disable the autorun feature. By disabling the autorun feature, your system will not automatically open any USB stick and any CD inserted into your machine. I have already discussed it here how to disable the autorun/autoplay feature of Windows XP. The Panda USB vaccine is easier and it does the disabling of the autorun in seconds.
You can also opt to remove the vaccine on your PC and USB stick anytime. You can also set that all USB sticks inserted into your machine will be “vaccinated” automatically. In my case, i chose not to automatically apply the vaccine to all USBs hence other USB sticks may be inserted into my machine. The image below shows Panda detecting a non-vaccinated USB stick inserted into the machine.
Once your USB stick is “vaccinated” by Panda USB vaccine, the autorun.inf file will no longer be changed and modified by any virus. It will also prevent that an autorun.inf file shall be created by the virus.
The autorun.inf file is being used by Microsoft Operating System to manage the USB whether to show an icon image of the USB drive folder in the MyComputer or to launch an application from the stick. However, virus and malware writers found the autorun.file a great launching pad for their evil tricks. Virus can change and modify the settings found in the autorun.inf file which is in a notepad format.
Normally when you inserted a USB stick, a dialogue box such as below will open and will ask you what application program you should use to open the content of your USB stick. Once your PC or USB stick is vaccinated, the window dialogue box will no longer appear. You have to open the USB stick from the MyComputer folder.
By disabling the autorun, malwares and virus programs found in the USB stick shall no longer be automatically run on your system. Hence, you still have much time scanning the drive first before opening it in MyComputer.
You can download the Panda USB stick free.