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I keep my laptop backed up using Google Desktop. It's how I keep my things like notes, pictures, etc., backed up. I recently have been reading about ransomware attacks increasing and I wanted to protect my files further. I settled on copying my Google Drive files to a flash drive and, the hope is, if a ransomware attack made its way into my Google Drive, then I'd have the flash drive as a backup.

To perform the back up, I wrote a small, very simple batch script that copied the files to my flash drive (I use Windows). I also got a micro USB drive that is small enough I can leave it in my laptop continuously if I wanted and not have to take it out with any fear of damaging it physically.

I'm a man of habit and I think it would be easiest if I just left the flash drive in the computer and, every night before bed, I can run my little script and it will copy all my files to it.

My question is, would this defeat the point of the backup? If a ransomware attacks the computer and my flash drive is plugged in, is the ransomware likely to target it? In other words, is it necessary to keep my flash drive disconnected from my laptop other than when I copy the files in order for it to serve the desired security function of keeping a backup from a ransomware attack?

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As much as you can access the flash drive, the ransomware can. In fact, it is a common method for ransomware to check for connected local or networked drives in order to expand the infection. Thus to limit the exposure you need to connect the drive only for backup and disconnect it afterwards.

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  • This is correct; just to add, one way to make OP's life easier could be to make the script run automatically when plugging in the drive (eg. using autorun.inf)
    – LFLFM
    Feb 14 at 8:24
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    @LFLFM As far as I remember autorun.inf was disabled for security reasons years ago. Only for read-only media like CD/DVD autorun.inf can still be used.
    – Robert
    Feb 14 at 12:06
  • You are correct - it is disabled by default; but it's possible to enable it somehow, I'd have to look it up again but if I remember correctly it's a policy (which means it wouldn't be possible in home edition)
    – LFLFM
    Feb 15 at 16:04

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