It’s no longer rare for USB flash drives to carry malware which installs itself onto a computer without being noticed.

That’s why Windows users who are given a flash drive to open should deactivate the Windows autostart function for USB devices and have a virus scanner check out the thumb-stick before opening it.

A less known but rising threat is the USB flash drive which has been manipulated so that it will be recognized as a keyboard.

That trick sidesteps the anti-autostart precaution and allows the flash drive to smuggle in malicious code.

If you often receive USB sticks containing photos from your friends, or work in an office where people bring in data on sticks, some extra protection from this new trick is needed.

The USB Keyboard Guard tool from G Data is designed to unmask the sticks masquerading as keyboards. The programme detects if any new keyboard has been recognized, blocks it and shows a warning. Users can then tap OK if they really have connected up a new keyboard.

The tool then remembers the user’s decision for permitted devices.

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