Find a Random USB? Don't Plug It In

'Harmful' drives found in mailboxes in Australia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2016 9:31 AM CDT
Find a Random USB? Don't Plug It In
Two USB drives found in Australia.   (Victoria Police)

If you happen to find a USB drive in your mailbox, don't insert it into your computer. That's the message from Australian police who say unmarked USB sticks "believed to be extremely harmful" have turned up in mailboxes in a suburb of Melbourne. When plugged in, the drives essentially "ruin" computers, police say, per CNET. Victims in Pakenham "have experienced fraudulent media streaming offers, as well as other serious issues." Apparently random USBs don't just appear in Australia. A Twitter user in France says he received a USB in the mail in July, but knew better than to plug it in, per Motherboard.

Wondering why anyone would plug a random USB into his or her computer? Perhaps human curiosity is to blame. CNET cites a recent study out of the University of Illinois that found at least 45% of people who picked up a USB drive in a parking lot inserted it into a computer and accessed its files. As far as havoc-wreaking USBs goes, BBC reminds readers that the virus that attacked an Iranian nuclear reactor in 2010 was believed to have been carried in on a USB. (More Australia stories.)

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