I found a flash drive outside my home. Thinking one of my neighbors might have dropped it and wanting to return to them (but still wanting to be cautious), I (stupidly) plugged it into an old Android phone that I was going to recycle.

The flash drive appeared to be empty, save for some .bmp (?) .gif images of nothing in particular, so I smashed with a hammer and threw away. A while later, before recycling that device and a bunch of others, I wiped them all in Wondershare Eraser on my Windows 10 PC (which required plugging the devices into and giving access to my computer).

Now I'm wondering if that flash drive could have actually infected the old phone, and now, by plugging it into my computer, if that could have been infected it (and anything else I connect).

I've scanned the Computer with both Windows Defender and Avast and other Android devices that I subsequently plugged into the computer with McAfee, Avast, and Malwarebytes. All came back clean, and the computer is operating fine and not doing anything suspicious. BUT simply from the situation itself (having stupidly plugged in a USB drive I found on the sidewalk), I'm worried that I may have been infected with something.

Any advice on what I should do to confirm this further and action to take to make sure personal files aren't corrupted?

1 Answer 1


Theoretically? Yes. Practically? No

Such usb stick would have needed to persistently infect the Android phone (without requesting access, so likely through some kind of exploit to an Android ARM) in such a way that it is then able to infect an x86_64 Windows PC and also infect it.

The probability that you got infected this way is infinitesimal.

  • Thanks for the feedback! Care to elaborate a bit on what you mean by "...persistently infect..."? Also, not sure if it makes a difference, but I did open 1 of the .gifs.
    – Mr T
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 5:43
  • @MrT I was referring to an infection that got installed and survives a reboot.
    – Ángel
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 2:10

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