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Yes, you could plug the USB drive into a Linux Live CD and format the disk. Once it's formatted, it's safe to use. Note that this would not thwart any infection if the malware is in the USB firmware, but that's a remote possibility and I wouldn't be too much paranoid about it. There is a better reason to be suspicious about good deals on USB thumb ...


Try using Ubuntu Privacy Remix. Its a live usb with encrypted persistent data storage on your usb. And is permanently offline. It is live iso boot so that your linux system cannot be altered or infected by rootkit etc. Only the persistent files are writable but are also encrypted in your usb. It can be used to open, edit, and store your sensitive files ...

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