Public kiosks, such as those used for photo printing, are exposed to thousands of USB drives and other media every month. Many of them are poorly secured and are using your media as a virus-propagation tool. Protect yourself with these simple steps.
Photo by clix.
Security blog Risky.biz reader Morgan wrote in to highlight how an unsecure photo kiosk at Big W infected one of his flash drives with a virus.
Photo kiosks in Big W stores are allegedly infecting customers with USB-borne viruses.
The Windows-based Fuji photo kiosks located in the company's stores apparently don't run antivirus software, so lovely little bits of malicious software like Trojan.Poison-36 are winding up on customers' USB keys, according to Risky Business listener and blogger Morgan Storey.
On its own, an isolated incident of a photo kiosk infecting a USB device might not be newsworthy. But what makes this item stick out is Big W's reply to Morgan after he notified the company of the issue:
You can visit the full article at the link below to see a screenshot of the entire email but the most notable quote in their response should give you pause.
Please note that we are currently testing anti-virus software on our Fuji photo kiosks in a number of stores, and if it is successful, we plan on rolling it out to all stores in the future.
It could be debated whether or not the virus Morgan's flash drive picked up came from that particular photo kiosk but the people in charge of the kiosk acknowledge that the kiosks have no virus protection. All it would take for each kiosk to become a virus propagating machine then — with access to thousands of USB drives, memory sticks and SD cards a month! — is exposure to one infected flash drive.
What can you do to protect yourself against infection from a dirty public kiosk? To play it extremely safe, burn your photos to read-only media such as a writable CD or DVD. Alternately you can keep a handful of small flash drives around for the task and when you've used the last of your throw-away pile you can boot your computer with a Live CD — check out our Hive Five on the topic — and format them all.
If you've had an experience with a third-party virus infection or have a tip for keeping viruses from public computers and kiosks away from your home network, let's hear about it in the comments.
Big W Infecting Photo Printing Customers? [Risky.Biz]