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My computer probably had malware. Decided to install linux and do a disc wipe using a linux distro called Pop!_OS (ubuntu based)

Can a piece of malware/virus inject itself into an ISO

According to the above SecuritySE post, it's an unlikely propagation method, so I don't really need to worry about the .iso being infected.

However I'm worrying about the USB. I used Balena Etcher for flashing the USB, which formats the USB before making it bootable so my hypothesis is that if any malware were moved to the usb/ it got infected, the malware will be removed due to the format. Is my reasoning correct? My threat model is a regular human. Do I have any reason to worry?

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    Short answer: malware could infect the firmware of the USB, and no amount of formatting will touch it. But we are also back to your original question and we can't tell you the certainties. It's possible.
    – schroeder
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:34
  • @schroeder I see. Well then we go to the question of likeliness and im assuming its unlikely.
    – user261600
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:37
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    You've been asking questions about this since August. And we are all giving you the same answer no matter what elements you include: anything is possible. But you appear to want something definitive. Most attacks are opportunistic. Advanced malware can do a variety of things and will do those variety of things if there is a chance to do them. For opportunistic attacks, who you are doesn't matter. It's like catching a cold virus. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and you're vulnerable, then you get that virus and it does what it does.
    – schroeder
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:39
  • All your questions since August represent what's know as an X/Y Problem. You are worried about this infection you got, and now you are guessing at each individual element in your digital life to see if they might, somehow, also be involved. This is not a fruitful way to go. Find evidence of a problem and address that. Don't enumerate your digital life and suspect each part individually.
    – schroeder
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:42
  • @schroeder I understand. From what I know firmware level attacks are rare, like woeUSB, and from what i know, unless im a rich/important person, the effort itll take to find a vulnerability and exploit it is too high. I'll close this question now. Thank you.
    – user261600
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:45