Kiosks: The Virus Source You're Unaware Of

Here's a good point: "Public kiosks, such as those used for photo printing, are exposed to thousands of USB drives and other media every month." So it's likely that the flash drives or memory cards you plug into PC-based kiosks may infect your home or office computer.

Lifehacker offers a straightforward solution. Once your removable media has served its purpose, simply format them on a PC booted up with a Live CD. Live CDs are self-contained boot discs (usually running a variant of Linux) that let you use a computer without accessing—or installing—anything on your hard disk. Your files and operating system remain safe, as you wipe any potential threats from your potentially dirty thumb drives and camera media cards.

A personal favorite is the Ubuntu installer. While it lets you install the popular Linux variant on your computer, its trial mode is for all intents and purposes doubles as a Live CD.

Use Read-Only Media to Protect Against Kiosk-Propagated Viruses

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  • edileeMy question there really anything on a picture kiosk to infect? Almost all viruses are directed at Microsoft OS's and their other software so what does a kiosk have that might be worth messing with? My Kaspersky AV software pops a scan window up anytime I insert a USB ram drive and any other removable store media and hopefully all other AVs do the same. This seems more like an ad for Linux than an actual story...anyone else notice that?

    Don't be a div. Those Kiosks are running Windows. They are bound to get infected. Seeing as some of them handle payment they may even be activly targeted themselves! You can never be too careful with the security and integrity of your data and systems
  • Ha ha ha ha. Viruses don't care about what is "worth messing with" on any computer infected. They infect things. Its a point of entry to get on other computers. They said "boot disks" Not "It has to be Linux"
  • When using ubuntu for this purpose, I recommend using gparted with ntfsprogs for formatting. Gparted is not preinstalled anymore on the latest ubuntu versions so you have to install it yourself:

    sudo apt-get install gparted ntfsprogs