new flash drive bought on eBay has a mac virus?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by California, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I bought a flash drive, new, off ebay.

    I wanted to use it to more easily transfer big files off my mini to my powerbook.

    It's a USB 2.0 drive, or so it says.

    I put it in the computer and immediately go to disk utility to erase the drive.

    It looks like it has been erased and "mac journaled" but then all my other applications start going whacky. Word especially.

    The desktop is behaving erratically and Word freezes, as does the desktop. I go into Activity Monitor and somehow all my disk utility files get erased off the computer.

    Including Activity Monitor.

    So I boot up from an external drive, thinking this flash drive has somehow infected my regular hdd.

    Everyting is fine (it's actually a clone of my original drive I made some months ago, running SL 10.6.8.)

    SO I just put the flash drive in my Powerbook to see if I could erase it, partition it, zero it out or what I could do with it.

    It will not be erased.

    It will not be partitioned.

    It will not be zero'ed out -- keeps giving a "will not unmount" error.

    I'm nervous about this. What could it be? I want to zero it out, make sure there is nothing on the drive, but it "won't unmount" so what's going on?

    Of course, in the Powerbook, I'm on 10.5.8 Leopard, but this shouldn't matter.

    How do I zero this thing out, make sure there is nothing on it, and use it like a normal USB flash drive?

    Really scared I put something on my Mini's regular start up drive, my main HDD with all my stuff on it.
  2. California thread starter macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    LOL. 623 readers and nobody knew anything about this... well, neither did I. But on the old Apple boards and a few MR posts, there was some problem with new flash usb drives.

    I ended up forcing it to partially partition in Disk Utility on my Powerbook, with an Apple Partition thing for PPC Macs.

    It did the same thing, would not unmount but I kept forcing it to at least start the partition.

    Then I yanked it out when it crashed Disk Utility.

    Then I restarted and put it back in and did a Carbon Copy Clone of my hard drive in the Powerbook, which it is still happily doing.

    I have the final PB revision, so this is a USB 2.0 port, I should be able to wipe it down again on my intel machines.

    I think it was just a Windows error on the original formatting, I don't think it was a virus, though it did some whacky things.
  3. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Not possible, since there are no Mac OS X viruses that exist in the wild. There are a few trojans.

    Mac Virus/Malware FAQ
  5. California thread starter macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    This thing defintely messed up two hard drives. I could not shut down the Powerbook with the flash drive plugged in.

    Scratch my former post, there is something really wrong with this flash drive.

    I cannot unmount my Mac Mini main drive, after the drive had been plugged into it.

    I could not shut down my Powerbook with the thing plugged in.

    And I am now about to shut everything down and replace my Mac Mini hard drive that was damaged.
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    There can be reasons other than a virus.

    For example, I had a USB flash drive that went flaky, and was intermittently drawing too much current. It would cause other USB devices (including hard drives) on the same USB hub to fail. I diagnosed the problem by using a powered USB hub and an ammeter. The flash drive eventually failed completely, and would no longer mount or respond at all, but it would still pull 300 mA simply by plugging it in.

    That's around the time I gave up using bargain USB flash drives. I now have several SanDisk Cruzer drives, and a microSD to USB adapter that lets me use microSD cards (which I also don't buy as bargain no-names). The price/GB is sometimes higher and sometimes lower for microSD, plus there are speed considerations of both the card and the adapter.

    Excessive power drain may or may not be the cause in your case. There's no way to tell without a deeper investigation.
  7. California thread starter macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I think that may be an answer, thanks, interesting.

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