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Careful with USB thumb-drives!

USB memory sticks are the very devil for carrying infection. And it’s so easy for some ill-intentioned person to install a virus on one of these thumb-drives. Worse still, that virus won’t necessarily be detected by your antivirus software before it has done its dastardly job, because it can spread the virus immediately the thumb-drive is inserted into the USB port.

So beware of any thumb-drive you may find randomly in the street or one given to you free of charge. Assume from the outset that it is booby-trapped and that even the best experts would struggle to notice. There are all sorts of risks involved: remote spying, taking control of your computer, ransomware – even the total destruction of your device ("USB killers", which deliver a jolt of electrical power that destroys your computer’s electronic circuits).

You are also recommended to use one memory stick for your own personal use and another for your work documents. This will avoid one of the two computer environments infecting the other.

Here are our tips for protecting yourself as much as possible:

  • Never lend your thumb-drive to anyone
  • Don’t connect it to any device you’re not sure of
  • Do not plug in a memory stick someone has just given you or you happen to have found on the ground
  • Delete the "Autoplay" function in Windows 10: Settings > Devices > Autoplay > Off
  • As ever, keep your operating system and antivirus protection up to date