As handy as USB Flash Drives are, it's incredibly easy to forget your own safety protocols and use your device in more than one machine, one of which may be infected by a virus. If you're making a presentation on a borrowed machine, or you've nipped into an internet cafe to get some work done or send an important document, your guard might do down and you pick up a malicious bit of code from somewhere.
In fact, it happens to the best of us, but that doesn't diminish the fact that USB flash memory drives remain just about the safest and most convenient way to transfer oodles of data very quickly.
If you're concerned about security, don't panic because there's plenty you can do to make sure everything's going to be OK.
They say that prevention is better than the cure (especially if the cure is to lose all the the data on your drive), so there are plenty of tools that you can get your hands on to keep your hardware and data safe.
Brilliantly, there are familiar names out there working to give you peace of mind. McAfee is one of the world's best known anti-virus tool kits, and they now have a specialist version that's designed for use on USB memory drives. Yes, you have to spend money to get it, but how much is your portable data worth?
Panda is also well known in technical circles as one of the best anti-virus tools, and are trusted for their expertise in virus removal from infected machines. However, their USB Vaccine kit disables the auto-run feature on flash memory sticks, meaning that virus programs are unable to auto-execute and infect your machine. Ninja pendisk is another utility that stops viruses that find their way onto USB drives from infecting other machines. Well worth having in your arsenal.
USB Threat Defender is also worth looking into. Not only does it stop viruses auto-running, it also checks for threats that other anti-virus tool kits might have left behind. It offers a high level of protection, and comes in a trial version that can later be upgraded.
You don't have to go out into this world undefended. There are plenty of utilities to help you protect your data. Our one piece of advice is that it's worth paying extra for a good program with the technical back-up that a paid service provides.