I had to do some demo teaching today. I don't have a printer at home, so they said I could use the office computer to print off my lesson plan.

So on my laptop at home, using Linux, I typed up my lesson plan in Open Office. Then I took a USB stick and formatted it to FAT32. Then, in Open Office, I did "Export as PDF" and saved it on my USB stick.

So then I went to the school, printed off my lesson plan, everything went fine.

I get home and put the USB stick back into my Linux PC. There's more files on it than previously... one of them being "autorun.inf" and also a ".exe" file. A Microsoft Windows virus had been copied to my USB stick.

So next time I went to the school I was like "yeah, by the way, that office computer has a virus on it". To be a good Samaritan, (and also to get them to like me ), I tell them I'll fix it for them. First of all, I wanted to be sure that it was this particular computer that copied the rogue files to my USB stick, so I tested it out. I inserted my USB stick, and then a few seconds later, there was some new files on it. So I was sure that it was this computer that had the virus.

So I open up Windows Explorer to view the USB stick. I have to go into the settings to makes sure that hidden files are shown, and also that file extensions are shown. OK so now I see a folder called "secret.exe" on my USB stick. My first thought was "They're trying to trick me into thinking this is an executable file, when really it's just a folder". So I double-click on the folder, and nothing happens.

...pwnd. It was actually an executable file whose icon was identical to the Microsoft Windows folder icon. But not to despair, this computer was already infected, I didn't do it any more damage.

So I say to them, "I have the installation file for AVG on my laptop at home, I'll go home and get it". So then I arrive home. I suspected that my AVG installation program might be out of date (or maybe an expired license, something like that), so I booted into Windows XP to make sure that it would install properly.

So there I am at home on my own computer in Windows XP. I plug in the USB stick, but everything's OK because I have "Autoplay" disabled. I go into Windows Explorer, and I double-click my USB stick drive to open it.

...pwnd. The double-clicking actually resulted in Autoplay, so now my own machine is infected. The icon for Autoplay is exactly the same as the normal USB drive icon in Microsoft Windows XP. (I usually tell an Autoplay CD from the icon).

Anyway, this story is just another example of how human stupidity can be relied upon. Whoever designed that virus was quite the con man. I mean I've been using Microsoft Windows since Windows version 3.1, but I was still fooled.