Why You Can No Longer Trust Any Usb Device Plugged Into Your Pc
Image Credit: Lighthunter/Shutterstock
Are you sitting down? Good. Cause Ive got some really bad, scary news to share with you: Every single device plugged into a USB port on your computer could pose a threat worse than any malware weve ever seen.
Yes, its as bad as it sounds.
Two researchers for the security consultancy SR Labs, Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell, have discovered that USB devices such as the ubiquitous thumb-drive or even a USB keyboard or mouse, can have its firmware reprogrammed by malicious software to deliver virtually any kind of attack once its connected to a computers USB port.
You might be tempted to think that if youre running the latest anti-virus software from McAffee or Norton youre safe from such USB-based malware. But you arent.
No effective defenses from USB attacks are known. Malware scanners cannot access the firmware running on USB devices, say the pair in their brief on the SR Labs site.
The problem arises from the fact that traditional anti-virus software is designed to look at the file contents of an attached drive. In other words, if you can see a file on a USB key with Windows Explorer or the Mac OS Finder, your anti-virus software can scan it even if its hidden.
What could a USB device that has been compromised in such a way do to your computer? Anything.
In an interview with Wired, Nohl describes it this way: It can do whatever you can do with a keyboard, which is basically everything a computer does.
How Do I Connect To Sharemouse
By default, ShareMouse adds any other ShareMouse installation in a local network to your setup automatically.To set a password:
Scanning For And Removing Viruses And Spyware From The Pc
Use Windows Security to scan for and remove any viruses, spyware, or other malware from the computer.
Quick scan: A quick scan checks the places on the hard disk drive that malware is most likely to infect.
Full scan: A full scan checks all files on your hard disk drive and all currently running applications. If you suspect that malware has infected your computer, run a full scan. The scan might take over an hour to complete, and the computer might run slowly during the scan.
Custom scan: A custom scan checks specific computer drives and files that you select.
Windows Defender Offline scan: A Windows Defender Offline scan checks for rootkits or highly persistent malware on your computer. Select this option to check for malware outside of the normal Windows system. The scan might take 15 minutes to complete, and the computer restarts as part of the scan.
HP recommends using the Windows Defender Offline scan if you suspect your computer is infected with malware or a virus.
In Windows, search for and open Windows Security, and then select Virus & threat protection.
If you choose Quick scan, the scan begins.
If you choose Scan options, continue with these steps to run a full system scan, a custom scan, or a Windows Defender Offline scan.
Select one of the following options, and then click Scan now> Scan.
If you choose Full scan, the scan begins.
If you chooseCustom scan, select the specific drives or folders to scan, and then click Select Folder.
You May Like: Will Monistat Cure My Yeast Infection
Does A Usb Mouse Have Memory That Could Be Used To Store Malware
I worry that this might get flagged as too broad, but here it goes:
Lately I’ve been thinking about the possibility of loading data on peripheral devices. One of the most used peripherals is the mouse. I realize that there are 101 ways to build a mouse. To refine my question into several, I ask these questions:
I ask number three because what I’ve been thinking of lately is the generalization of the attacks performed by various advanced persistent threats.
- \$\begingroup\$As for 3, I can think of just hooking a USB flash memory with a virus inside the mouse, wiring it to the connector, and voila!\$\endgroup\$May 15, 2015 at 17:38
- 2\$\begingroup\$Perhaps a better title for your question would be: “Does a USB mouse have memory that could be used to store malware?”. I can edit it for you if you’d like.\$\endgroup\$May 15, 2015 at 17:42
- 3\$\begingroup\$There’s actually a proof of concept code to infect USB devices from your PC published on github: github.com/adamcaudill/Psychson\$\endgroup\$May 15, 2015 at 21:05
- 2\$\begingroup\$No matter what normal mice contain, an attacker can always just make a mouse that does contain what they need.\$\endgroup\$
Can A Wireless Keyboard Get Hacked And Also Get A Virus
Similar to a wireless mouse, a keyboard can also get hacked and be used to send a virus to the computer. Similar to the mouse scenario, this tends to happen when the dongle being used on your computer does NOT require the keystrokes coming from the keyboard to be encrypted. In this case, the attacking dongle can mimic the same keystrokes, causing the other dongle to think that it received a command from its own keyboard.
While a keyboard itself cannot be infected with a virus, it can be a way for an attacker to get into your computer and send a virus to it. Once that vulnerability has been taken advantage of, the hacker can do whatever they want.
You May Like: Yeast Infection Diflucan Not Working
Enabling The Onscreen Keyboard
Another useful accessibility feature in Windows 10 is the onscreen keyboard. If your keyboard is working, but you have access to a mouse , you can use this feature instead as a short-term solution.
For easy access to the onscreen keyboard, right-click your Windows taskbar and click Show Touch Keyboard Button.
This will display an icon in your taskbar notifications area that you can press to easily show or hide the onscreen keyboard.
With this option enabled, clicking it will bring up the onscreen keyboard to fill the lower half of your screen.
Itll be easier to use on touchscreen devices, but if you have a working mouse, simply click on each key for it to respond as your typical keyboard would.
To close the keyboard, click the X button in the top right.
Only Install One Antivirus Solution
It may seem wise to have multiple layers of antivirus protection on your computer, but this is a case of “less is more.” If you have more than one antivirus software program installed on your machine, you run the risk of them canceling each other out because each thinks the other is a virus. This can result in limited antivirus protection at best, file corruption at worst.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Wax With A Yeast Infection
Can Worms Ruin My Computer
What happens if a worm infects your computer? Worms will not corrupt your files or break your computer. Instead, they slow down your computer by sucking up resources or Internet bandwidth.
Just because it wont destroy your computer, that doesnt mean it cant be destructive in other ways. These invaders can modify and delete your files, steal data, and install backdoors. If they are carrying a payload, they can inject additional malicious software onto your computer and allow a hacker to control your computer and its system settings.
Another problem is they spread quickly. In fact, SQL Slammer spread so quickly, it was infecting thousands of vulnerable servers using SQL Server every minute. This is one of the fastest spreading worms, but it does prove that replication can occur rapidly.
How To Remove A Virus From Your Router
If youre confident that you have a virus on your router, resetting it to factory settings may delete most malware.
If your router has been compromised, you need to change all your passwords. Start from your administrator credentials and then move to your accounts. Avoid short passwords such as kangaroo or james200 as hackers can crack them in a snap. Look at no less than 12-character passwords and be sure to use special symbols and numbers along with lower- and uppercase letters.
Whether its your phone or computer that has been infected through your router, you need to perform a full scan of your system. Use a dedicated antivirus software to search for anything suspicious. Otherwise, a virus can sit silently on your machine and continue doing its dirty job.
While your router might have the latest firmware version installed, its better to check this for yourself. You can download the updates from the manufacturer’s website.
If youre looking for extra security, configure a VPN for your router. It will mask your IP address and encrypt traffic, thus mitigating the risk of getting attacked again. Not all routers are VPN-compatible, but if they are, you can use a VPN to protect your whole router network with encryption.
Protect your router and enhance your privacy with a VPN.
Scenario #1: My Laptop Is Working Very Slowly And Sometimes It Gives The
Error In The Browser
We received the above message from one of our readers.
If you get this message too on your PC, it might be a good idea to disable Flash and try another alternative. Flash has lots of vulnerabilities that we talked about before.
Regardless of the browser you are using, in Firefox this could be a warning sign that your computer is malware-infected.
Here are a few useful tips that will come in handy:
- Keep your Windows system up to date and consider reinstalling your OS if this issue persists.
- Do a full scan of all your files and apps installed on your PC using an AV solution, to see if it detects any malware.
- Consider installing a proactive security solution to enhance protection for your computer and keep malware and other online threats at bay.
- Also, make sure you reboot your PC if you havent performed this task in a while.
- Have a look at the Task Manager function and see what programs run in the background that could slow down your PC performance. It helps you get an overview of what apps and programs take space and how much.
- Make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, but if you dont have it, download it from here and follow the instructions. Remember to restart the computer after this procedure.
- If you no longer want to have Flash Player on your computer, you can follow these easy steps and uninstall it.
How To Remove Malware
Follow these three easy steps to remove malware from your device.
2. Run a scan using your new program. Even if you dont opt for Malwarebytes Premium, the free version of Malwarebytes is still great at removing malware. The free version, however, does not proactively stop threats from getting on your system in the first place.
3. Change all your passwords. Now that you know youre not being snooped on by some form of malware, you need to reset your passwordsnot only for your PC or mobile device, but also your email, your social media accounts, your favorite shopping sites, and your online banking and billing centers. This may sound paranoid, but with spyware, banking Trojans and the like, you just dont know for sure what data was captured before you stopped the infection. As always, use some form of multi-factor authentication and dont think you need to memorize all your passwords. Use a password manager instead.
- If your iPhone or iPad is infected with malware . Things are a little trickier. Apple does not permit scans of either the devices system or other files, though Malwarebytes for iOS, for example, will screen and block scam calls and texts. Your only option is to wipe your phone with a factory reset, then restore it from your backup in iCloud or iTunes. If you didnt backup your phone, then youre starting over from scratch.
Don’t Miss: Home Antibiotics For Tooth Infection
What Are The Chances Of Your Mouse Getting Hacked
While the mouse can present a vulnerability for your current computer, it getting hacked isnt something you should lose sleep over.
The likelihood of your mouse being hacked is so low it is effectively zero. Its one of these things that while possible, most hackers simply wouldnt bother with.
Thats because running this hack would require a lot of very specific information such as:
- Make and model of mouse
- Current firmware version
- What Operating System you use
That presents them with tens of thousands of possible combinations, so unless youre a secret crypto billionaire you probably dont have anything to worry about.
If a hack doesnt gather useful and valuable information its simply not worth it to the hacker.
The Mouse Pointer Moves By Itself
One of the most obvious symptoms is when the pointer of the mouse moves by itself . We turned on the computer and suddenly we see that it is making a series of movements that we have not done. You can also click on certain folders, open files … Eventually, this may be a sign that you are being controlled by a third party.
Read Also: Can A Tooth Be Pulled When Infected
Verifying Your Security Software By Clicking The Security Icon In The Windows Taskbar
Open the security software by clicking the software icon on the system tray area of the Windows taskbar.
Move the mouse pointer along the lower-right corner of the Windows desktop, hover over the icons near the clock, and then read the text above each icon to find the security software icon. You might need to expand the system tray to display hidden icons.
Right-click the security icon to open the security software, make sure the software is enabled, and examine more options.
Macs Cant Get Viruses
Macs cant be harmed by Windows-based viruses, but if you want to say that your Mac categorically cant get a virus then unfortunately you could find yourself in trouble. One of the first viruses ever set loose in the wild was written for Apple. It was called Elk Cloner and was written by a fifteen-year-old all the way back in 1982.
Over the last few years, a type of malware called Spyware has been popular with hackers. Spyware gets into your computer and mines into your data. Think of it as being a bit like this: you have a diary , and a nosey sibling manages to highjack the lock on your diary and get to all your secrets.
While you might like to think that your Mac is free of malware, the truth is that if youre not being careful, your Mac may be infected, which could lead to a hacker stealing your bank details, account log-ins, or any and all information that youve typed into your computer. Oh no!
Truth:Macs can get viruses too
Recommended Reading: Can Amoxicillin Treat Skin Infections
Scenario #: My Friends Tell Me Theyre Getting Strange Random Messages From Me On Facebook Which I Didnt Send
If your friends recently got several strange messages/emails or suspicious links from you, and you didnt send them, its likely that youve been infected with malware.
Heres a good example of malware spreading via Facebook Messenger and tricking users into clicking on links theyve received from one of their friends.
But first, check out your online accounts and see if those random messages were actually sent from one of your accounts. If something like this happened, take immediate action by following these security measures:
- Log out from all your accounts. For most of our online accounts, we log in to multiple devices and we often forget to log out. So make sure to log out from your online accounts on all connected devices.
- Use unique and strong passwords for all your online accounts. Always remember to change passwords! NEVER use the same password for multiple accounts, because if you are hacked, all of them will be exposed and your valuable data will get stolen. This password security guide will help you master passwords like an expert.
- Start using two-factor authentication RIGHT NOW. Do you want to increase your control over your accounts security? Then add this second security layer that will ask for an extra authentication step in the login process, along with your credentials.
Types Of Computer Infections
According to cybersecurity company Kaspersky, things you don’t want on your computer include viruses and all types of malware and spyware. Here are some common threats:
- Viruses designed to attack your system. They spread from machine to machine via shared links and uploaded and downloaded files. People spread these programs when they link and share carelessly and don’t use the right antivirus protection.
- Worms, which are similar to viruses. These programs don’t need help from people to spread. They’re programmed to move across computer networks on their own.
- Adware, spyware and ransomware. These programs are designed to track what you do online, gather data about you, and even steal your data and hold it hostage.
Key takeaway: Several different types of malware and spyware can cause significant damage to your system, including viruses, worms, adware and ransomware.
You May Like: A Person Infected With Hiv May Be Symptom Free For