Author Topic: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks  (Read 4043 times)

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Offline Faringdon

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Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« on: October 22, 2021, 09:14:36 pm »
Hi,
Please help with getting   rid of virus’s transferred by USB stick…..

I have worked in multiple different electronics companies. In each of them , I “took work home” by copying  files from my work PC  onto   various USB sticks, then  connecting the USB stick into my home laptop.

It became  blatantly obvious that the companies had  made their PC’s put spy software (and possibly other virus’s)  onto   these  USB sticks. It was  obvious because  often IT staff  were able to tell me  eg what youtube   songs, etc ,  I had listened to the night before.
I have even had staff at work accurately repeating eg  conversations that  i have had with my partner the evening before...so they somehow can even collect the audio and transmit it back to themselves.



Recently my laptops have started to run very very slowly, and I believe that this is due to  virus’s  that I have inadvertently transferred   from my work PC to my home laptop via  the  USB sticks, in this way. (ie , the  companys  somehow make their PC’s put virus’s on any  workers’ USB sticks  connected to them)

Do you know how I can “clean” these virus’s off  these USB sticks?
And do you know how I can “clean” these virus’s off my laptop?
(do I have to reset windows?)

(I have Norton anti-virus, but it obviously hasn’t stopped these virus’s.)

(I guess that these companies do this because they suspect that workers might be trying to steel the company's IP, but i was not trying to do this. I guess the companys inject these virus's because ultimately, they want to destroy  the home laptop, as in their minds, it may contain their IP, due to it possibly being transferred by USB stick)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 09:18:36 pm by Faringdon »
 

Offline nigelwright7557

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2021, 09:22:27 pm »
There are many reasons why a pc runs slow.
Hard disc nearly full.
Memory problems.

A couple of months back I thought I had a virus.
PC kept crashing.
I even tried reinstalling windows to clear it and it wouldn't install, kept crashing at same point.
I even tried a clean install but had same problem.

So did some checks of hard disc and memory with software and no problems found.

Out of desperation I removed one of my DIMM's and the problem went away.
SO swapped DIMMs and it still worked ok so DIMM's were ok.
Had a look in motherboard manual and it says DIMM's must be installed in pairs in same colour sockets.
I did this and pc been fine since.

Its strange I didn't have problems just after I first installed the second DIMM otherwise i might have twigged straight away.
 
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Offline langwadt

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2021, 09:29:32 pm »
you shouldn't put on the tinfoil hat so tight that it restricts blood flow to your brain, it makes you imagine crazy things ...
 
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Online ataradov

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2021, 09:35:37 pm »
Norton is on the deal with those USB stick makers. PayPay me $10000 and I'll give you a proven solution. Just keep it quiet, we don't need your IT guy to find out, and he apparently already knows too much.
Alex
 
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Online Ranayna

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2021, 09:38:47 pm »
First of all, you should stop "taking work home" like that. It is almost certainly against company policies. It also opens you widely for liability. If anything ever leaks, you will be the first suspect.

Regarding the browser history thing: Are you using Google Chrome, and are signed in to the browser both at home and at the company? Chrome can (i do not know if it does it by default) syncronize your browser history among other settings. I have heard reports about people beging written up for this, because the scanners found NSFW stuff on their work computers.
I would suggest never signing into your private accounts while at work anyway. It is never smart to mix work and private life...
 
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Online Gyro

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2021, 09:42:19 pm »
That's why many (most?) reputable companies, at least the ones I've worked in, have a ban their employees using their home storage devices in work computers. There is too much risk of 'cross contamination', particularly with the type of people who tend to do this.

For a company with any commercially sensitive / confidential IP, the risk of uncontrolled information going off-site is unacceptable. Nobody else had it in their terms of employment (and therefore, a disciplinary matter)?


P.S. In terms of most of the OP's post, typical Tre Faringdon incoherent ramblings! The whole 'my employer gave me a virus' thing is an entertaining plot twist though!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 10:03:56 pm by Gyro »
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Offline Faringdon

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2021, 11:21:00 pm »
Quote
Regarding the browser history thing: Are you using Google Chrome, and are signed in to the browser both at home and at the company?
Thanks, no i never do this......all i do is take work files ive done on the work computer home on a USB stick, then plug it into my laptop at home so i can continue the work there.
 

Offline andy3055

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2021, 11:41:17 pm »
Why would you spend your private time doing office work at home? Do you get paid for it? If so, ask the office to provide you with a laptop. If they are so desperate that you must spend your time like that, they must pay you and provide the equipment also.

Meanwhile, if you are so sure about this, run a program like "Super Antispyware" or "Malwarebytes" and clesn up your laptop at home. Don't ever bring your office stuff on USB and stick them on your laptop.

https://www.superantispyware.com/download.html

https://www.malwarebytes.com/lp/sem/en?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwbS52Znf8wIVvYNLBR1a0gngEAAYASAAEgJGi_D_BwE

Both of those have free versions.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 11:46:25 pm by andy3055 »
 
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Offline Faringdon

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2021, 05:46:21 am »
Thanks, i have Norton 360. I was reading on the web that its best to only have one anti-virus programme, otherwise, they can "attack" each other and mess up the computer while they're at it.
 

Offline m3vuv

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2021, 05:59:12 am »
reminds me of a company i used to work for,we had a crypton cmt500 engine analyser,this was also the gas analyser for mot cat checks,one guy brought a game to work on floppy disks,long story short these virused the pc controling the analyser,had to stop doing mot tests for a week or so until it was sorted.
 
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Offline andy3055

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2021, 06:01:07 am »
Huh! How did Norton work for you? Stick with it.
No more comments from me on this post.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2021, 06:25:08 am by andy3055 »
 
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Offline Faringdon

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2021, 01:29:09 pm »
Thanks, BTW, just did this to my USB stick...


...i hope it works.
I am loathe to load more antivirus software as i already have norton...and  antivirus softwares fight each other.

Also, is another good way to clean virus's off a USB stick to put the files on a laptop...then "format" the USB stick, then put your files back onto it?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2021, 01:43:03 pm by Faringdon »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2021, 02:47:14 pm »
First of all, you should stop "taking work home" like that. It is almost certainly against company policies. It also opens you widely for liability. If anything ever leaks, you will be the first suspect.
It's common for larger companies to have a policy against that, although they also generally provide laptops for working from home so no reason to use a personal device for that purpose. But some smaller companies might not have such a policy or even specifically allow using personal devices for working from home. Also, the spike in working from home thanks to COVID might have made temporary exemptions to that rule even at larger companies.

Have you considered using a separate personal device like an older laptop or a Raspberry Pi for that? Consider using something like Tails OS for that route, just reboot when you're done and there's no information left on the device to leak.
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Offline cgroen

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2021, 02:59:35 pm »
I don't think you have been hit by a virus, I think there is something else wrong.....
 
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Online ejeffrey

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2021, 05:59:23 pm »
I am sure there are IT departments that have deliberately infected users with viruses because they think it's hilarious.  There are terrible people everywhere.  However it's highly unlikely to be a deliberate policy.  It's insanely stupid, opens you up to massive civil and criminal liability, and has a high risk of infecting your own infrastructure and/or destroy the very "sensitive IP" that they could be protecting.  Penalties for criminal hacking can be extremely severe. Generally if companies have a policy against taking data home they would just fire people who violate it, not infect their computers with a virus yet for some reason keep them employed.  On the other hand many companies are perfectly happy to have employees working off the clock and would have no reason to sabatoge someone doing so.

You may have a virus and there is an outside chance someone from IT is harassing you but if so it is because they are abusive assholes not to protect company property.
 
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Offline newbrain

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2021, 07:58:31 am »
Thanks, BTW, just did this to my USB stick...
That video is a load of bollocks! :palm:
It gets the prize for the stupidest thing I have seen or heard this week, and there were good contenders.
It shows a complete misrepresentation of what a .lnk file is, I can't say if on purpose or out of sheer ignorance.

My employer has a policy of no work data on personal device, unless they have been vetted and prepped by IT including loading a number of security SW. Moreover USB mass memory devices are disabled on our laptops.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2021, 08:02:12 am by newbrain »
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Online Bassman59

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2021, 06:26:29 pm »
Do you know how I can “clean” these virus’s off  these USB sticks?

You can start by NOT using the greengrocer's apostrophe to indicate a plural.

English is your first language, right?
 
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Online golden_labels

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2021, 01:55:34 pm »
Faringdon: I avoided answering this thread, as I can’t help with Windows, but how the discussion develops makes it clear advice of different kind might be worth passing to you. A more general one. Possibly even related to the original question, as it is very likely not following that advice is the source of your problems.

Learn to differentiate between good and bad sources.

The video you linked is not merely wrong: it’s utter bullshit. Being wrong would mean that someone expressed an opinion honestly, trying their best to accurately address an actual issue, have their statements well founded and make sense, but failed at that task. The video is dispersing a totally random advice, bearing no logical connection with the problem, and is not rooted in knowledge. Skimming over the content of the Trickology channel reveals the above asessment is true; and channel’s name is well fitting: it is indeed tricking a particular kind of vulnerable audience into watching the videos, so the owners could enjoy their income.

It’s important to understand that, because the cause of your problem may be taking information from such sources. Reading, what you have written in this thread so far, I get the impression of that being very likely. I can’t tell, what causes your particular issue, and it’s impossible to rule out malicious actions of your employer. But that explanation is not very plausible, given (the lack of?) evidence. Don’t take that as a personal attack: I am only a person, who recognized a common pattern and tries to help you avoid trouble in the future. The way you describe your problem, the concepts you refer to, the explanations you provide and — finally — linking that video, are strong indicators that you are still at the stage of learning the basics. It seems to be that you are taking very poor choices regarding managing your computer and you are not understanding well that technology. Despite you may think otherwise. And that is the cause. Whether anyone in the company attacked you is actually less important.

Unfortunately there is no way to protect yourself against such people, other than acquiring knowledge on both the subject of interest and in what ways you may be vulnerable to such sources. “Unfortunately”, because it’s not one post on a forum that can pass you that knowledge. Not even a hundred threads. It’s years of hard work ahead of you and not on random websites, but with paper books. Wikipedia is in general decent source for most computing stuff, but usually it gives only an overview of the topic. However, you should get at least Wikipedia level of the feel about this subject, so seeing videos like that would invoke involuntarily WTF response, followed by a facepalm. As for deception, you may see Calling Bullshit lectures. This is a very basic introduction, but I believe you may benefit even from that.

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Offline Faringdon

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2021, 08:42:42 pm »
Thanks, ill bear these things in mind. It does puzzle me a bit.....why is it that USB sticks are such effective carriers for virus's?.....i mean, would i be reducing the chance of getting virus'd if i emailed the work computer files to my google drive from the work PC...and then downloaded it from there to my home laptop? (ie, avoid using a USB stick)

And suppose i have a virus'd USB stick...and i download all the files on it to my home laptop.....then the laptop will be virus'd...but presumably i can just re-install windows (whilst keeping the files there and not deleting them)...and then when ive re-installed windows, and removed the USB stick, then i will have all the files off the virus'd USB stick, and no virus on my laptop?
 

Offline Just_another_Dave

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2021, 08:51:01 pm »
That's why many (most?) reputable companies, at least the ones I've worked in, have a ban their employees using their home storage devices in work computers. There is too much risk of 'cross contamination', particularly with the type of people who tend to do this.

For a company with any commercially sensitive / confidential IP, the risk of uncontrolled information going off-site is unacceptable. Nobody else had it in their terms of employment (and therefore, a disciplinary matter)?


P.S. In terms of most of the OP's post, typical Tre Faringdon incoherent ramblings! The whole 'my employer gave me a virus' thing is an entertaining plot twist though!

Most companies I know deactivate USB ports to avoid workers doing that. It is not just a matter of what could be leaked, but also about the contents that the drive might have due to the risk of propagating malware through the network of the company
 
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Online TimFox

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2021, 09:34:36 pm »
I installed equipment with a Windows computer at a secure military-contractor site.  They had no tolerance whatsoever for USB thumb drives.  We normally connected our motor controls to the host computer through USB, but they required us to use Ethernet instead to reach the motor drivers outside of the locked drawer containing the computer.  To bring software into the facility, we had to put it on a CD/DVD disc that they passed through their anti-malware test system before giving it back to us.  We delivered the hardware with a blank hard drive, on which their IT department installed a secure Windows, which was a bit problematic for us since we had tested everything at the factory with normal Windows on a different drive.  Our application software, after the discs passed their tests, was then installed at their site.  Since the computer was locked into its drawer by their security staff, I don't remember if they also poured epoxy into the USB jacks (with which such a computer is infested) to enforce the policy.
 
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Offline timenutgoblin

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2021, 10:21:03 pm »
It became  blatantly obvious that the companies had  made their PC’s put spy software (and possibly other virus’s)  onto   these  USB sticks. It was  obvious because  often IT staff  were able to tell me  eg what youtube   songs, etc ,  I had listened to the night before.
I have even had staff at work accurately repeating eg  conversations that  i have had with my partner the evening before...so they somehow can even collect the audio and transmit it back to themselves.

I'm not sure exactly what this discussion thread is about, but it sounds like an attempt at social engineering.

https://www.webroot.com/au/en/resources/tips-articles/what-is-social-engineering

https://now.symassets.com/content/dam/norton/global/images/non-product/misc/tlc/in-post-02-social-engineering-tactics-to-watch-for.png

As others have suggested, it's probably just the company's attempt at securing their IP.
 
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Online golden_labels

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2021, 11:28:17 pm »
Thanks, ill bear these things in mind. It does puzzle me a bit.....why is it that USB sticks are such effective carriers for virus's?
They are not. An USB stick is not carrying malware any better than any other storage medium. By themselves they are just passive devices and do not offer any technical means to infect computers.

Historically the primary threat is running Windows. Microsoft thought it’s a great idea to allow removable media, like CDs and USB sticks, to be able to execute arbitrary commands upon insertion and refused to remove that vulnerability for 15 years. It may be turned off by the user, if they are aware of the risk, but only since Windows 7 it’s disabled by default. On top of that about a decade ago Explorer had a flaw, which allowed attackers to execute arbitrary code while icons of shortcut files were displayed,(1) which led to a large number of high-profile attacks and remains an attack vector on outdated systems. It’s important to understand, that it’s not a problem of pendrives technology themselves: those were not part of either hardware or mass storage USB devices, but choices by a particular software vendor.

Aside from those special cases, any medium that is used to exchange data between computers is a likely transmission vector. In the past those were floppy disks. When pendrives replaced floppies, they also took the role of the infection spreader. Not because USB sticks are in any way more suitable for that purpose, but simply because users put them in any hole they can, copy files to many computers and do not observe basic security hygene. If someone visits 30 brothels a month, they shouldn’t be surprised if diagnosed with chlamydia. The idea is the same. If you think that people, who are not instinctively disgusted and threatened by someone asking them to run some program or disable a security feature, are naïve, there is one more level: people, who can put an USB stick they found on a street into their computer and even execute things from there without giving it a second thought. That has been used uncountable times to circumvent security measures in companies(2) and is among the standard tests done by pentesters.

A third, less common threat arises from USB devices complexity. You have no way to determine, what you are putting into your USB port. It may look like an innocent pendrive, but it may present itself to the computer as a keyboard and send keystrokes to control the operating system. It may be a Bluetooth dongle with a built-in keylogger. It may exploit kernel-level vulnerabilities related to how those devices are handled. Or anything else. Those are rare, because other methods are cheaper and easier to conduct, but not unheard of. And, of course, there is also the good old USB Killer, which is harmless in comparison — it only kills the USB port or the computer.

But it should be clear: none of the above is caused by any technical aspect of pendrives themselves.

.....i mean, would i be reducing the chance of getting virus'd if i emailed the work computer files to my google drive from the work PC...and then downloaded it from there to my home laptop? (ie, avoid using a USB stick)
With 99.9% certainity: no. If you were in fact attacked by someone from your company, they didn’t use any sophisticated attacks, but relied on you yourself trusting the files and executing malware.

And suppose i have a virus'd USB stick...and i download all the files on it to my home laptop.....then the laptop will be virus'd...
Uhh… first of all, please stop using “virus’d”. It doesn’t make you sound cool. Quite opposite. In particular since computer viruses are extreme rarity. And no, by copying files you are not infected. Malware does not spread by being somewhere. Malware spreads by being run in some way. So you must consciously either run some program or use a file that exploits vulnerability in other program. Without that nothing happens. And no, USB stick itself is also not infected. It may at most contain malware, which is just normal files like any other file and just like any other file may be deleted.(3)

but presumably i can just re-install windows (whilst keeping the files there and not deleting them)...and then when ive re-installed windows, and removed the USB stick, then i will have all the files off the virus'd USB stick, and no virus on my laptop?
Assuming the malware is not spread beyond the operating system, you may wipe the drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. If you have restoration point set up in Windows, you may try using it — it’s likely it will also provide a clean version.

Assuming that files on that pendrive were the attack vector, it will stay clean until you will infect it again by using those files. The files are the problem, not the USB stick.
____
(1) This is probably the grain of truth on which that video was based.
(2) Which is why in many companies you can’t put anything into USB ports, as mentioned by someone above.
(3) For pedants: technically a pendrive itself could be infected, but that’s not seen in practice. And someone having such malware in their hands would not use it to learn what songs your are listening to.
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Offline Jan Audio

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2021, 02:26:38 pm »
You need a extra "ZOO" computer, where all the virusses live.
 
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Offline Faringdon

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Re: Electronics companies putting virus's onto USB sticks
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2021, 08:52:45 pm »
Thanks
If you get a virus from a USB stick, then is the only way to get rid of it to re-install windows?
Does re-installing windows definetely get rid of a virus?
 


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