jeff gardner.

Traveler tip: Virus protection for your USB thumb drive

I’ve been using a lot of internet cafes recently. A lot of internet cafes and a lot of different computers. Viruses are rampant – and not just the poo causing kind. I use a mac, so most of these viruses are harmless but its always good idea to try and keep foreign files off your machine as much as possible. The owner of the guest house that we’re staying at here in Rishikesh clued me into a really clever way to help keep viruses off your computer when you’re moving your USB thumb drive between your laptop and local internet cafe machines (most of which have at least one virus). It works like this:

1. Open a new text file with your favorite text editor. I use TextMate – I highly recommend it. 2. Leave this file blank and then save it as autorun.inf 3. If your using a mac right click the file and click “Get Info”, if you’re on windows click “Properties”, change the permissions of this file to not allow anyone to change it. Lock it down completely. 4. Copy this file onto your USB thumb drive and then delete from your local machine (it conceivably could cause boot up issues).

When a virus installs itself on your thumb drive it also tries to update or write a new autorun.inf file. This is the file that actually allows the virus to run itself and wreck havoc on your machine. However if the file already exists and it has locked down permissions the virus won’t be able to do anything.

And by the way, if you’re ever looking for a nice place to stay in Rishikesh, Pyramid Cafe, up the hill in Laxman Jhula, is a wonderful place with a great restaurant.


Tagged: virus protection, usb thumb drive, and helpful hint
15 October 2009

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