How to vaccinate your thumb drive and computer to prevent spreading of malware?

usb-pendrive

Is your thumb drive used in working place or public places always get infected by malware and viruses, especially the terrible Conficker worm? The same thumb drive affected your own PC and laptop and doesn’t know how to prevent it? No worry, Panda Security has come out with a nice nifty application that can add double layer of protections to your computer and thumb drive without having them get affected by any of those autorun malware. Introducing you the mighty:

Panda USB Vaccine – Antimalware and Vaccine for USB devices

So, what is this software all about? Let’s have a look on the official description of the software as per on the home page of Panda USB Vaccine:

Panda USB Vaccine is a free solution designed to protect against this threat. It offers a double layer of preventive protection, allowing users to disable the AutoRun feature on computers as well as on USB drives and other devices:

Vaccine for computers: This is a ‘vaccine’ for computers to prevent any AutoRun file from running, regardless of whether the device (memory stick, CD, etc.) is infected or not.

Vaccine for USB devices: This is a ‘vaccine’ for removable USB devices, preventing the AutoRun file from becoming a source of infection. The tool disables this file so it cannot be read, modified or replaced by malicious code.

This is a very useful tool as there is no simple way of disabling the AutoRun feature in Windows. This provides users with a simple way of disabling this feature, offering a high degree of protection against infections from removable drives and devices.

As you can see, this software is able to help you stop the spreading and get infected by those malware by adjusting the autorun option of the computer, as well as the thumb drive. What’s more it had been extended to support NTFS drive as well, besides the FAT and FAT32 format. Next, I will show you how to get it and how to use it, as well as how you will know it is in effect.

How to get it? 

Simple, just download it. But where? You can download here (Download.com) for free. The latest version released on 08.10.2009 is version 1.0.1.4. If you would like to follow their blog on this software, you can always go to here.

How to install it?

After you had downloaded the software, run the USBVaccineSetup.exe to initiate the setup.

exe setup The following screen will appear, click Next:

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Then, read through license agreement and accept it if it’s ok. Click Next:

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Select the directory you would like to software to install to, if there is no changes, just click next:

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The next screen will allows you to select a few options offered. If you wanted to enable the beta NTFS support, please make sure you read the help file before enabling it. Click Next if everything is ok:

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After copying the files to your computer, the installation is complete and you can start to use it:

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How to use it?

Once you done installing, the software will be launched if the option ‘Launch Panda USB Vaccine’ is chosen earlier. Else, you can launch the software from the program in Start Menu. The software interface is very simple, with only two options:

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  • Computer Vaccination

    • The software allows computer user to disable the Autorun feature of the Windows completely (regardless of USB drive, CD/DVD or any removable media), thus adding one layer of protection of the spreading malware since the malware spreads through the Autorun function. Be aware that this will completely disable every Autorun function of any removable drive, which means no auto-execution for them when they are inserted into the computer, so if you feels ok with it, just click ‘Vaccinate computer’. you can always undo by clicking on ‘Remove vaccine’.

  • USB drive Vaccination

    • If you are aware of what’s the fundamental of the spreading malware, you will know what is an autorun.inf file. This file is used for the Windows’ Autorun feature and included any parameter that the Autorun needed to run. This software is so unique that it creates an autorun.inf file to your removable drive (external HDD, pendrive etc.), which this file is a vaccinated one, that cannot be accessed by you, nor the malware in the computer. Thus, your thumb drive is immuned from autorun of the malware that stopped the spreading to the other computer when you used it. So, don’t worry if you found a non-deletable/non-accessible autorun.inf in your thumb drive, with the presence of the file, it means that your thumb drive is definitely immuned. You can always select a preferred drive to vaccinate, or allows the option of auto-vaccinate to every thumb drive used in your computer to stop the infection.

autorun.inf

Summary

This free software from Panda Security is very useful, as there are many companies and colleges/universities have the Autorun malware spreading all around the network and will infect any thumb drive that plugged into any computer in the infected network. Go on ahead and download it, vaccinated your thumb drive without hesitate (I can’t think of a reason why you hesitate though), and help to stop the spreading of the malware (but you can spread this good software to any of your colleagues/friends/relatives to share; Sharing is Caring). Happy using your USB drive! 

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