Secure an USB drive for public use?

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
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Multiple times I will need to transfer PDF files from my Mac, via an USB drive, to a public library for printing.
I never trust public computers, and I'm also always a bit cautious of plugging in USB drives into my Mac that have been on public computers.
Is there anything I can do to make this more/less safe?
One scenario I thought of was to add the file to the USB drive from my Mac, and then somehow make the drive read-only while you're going to the library. Then nothing should be able to infect the drive and subsequently infect my Mac, right?


(Both macOS and Windows an be infected so please no reply that macOS is safer than Windows)
 

chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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The only media I know of with a write-protect switch is SD cards. An SD-to-USB adapter could work. It would, however, have to honor the write-protect switch on the card. Many adapters will do this, but some don't.

Another option would be burning a CD or DVD with the files. Then there's no chance of transferring anything back.

EDIT

A completely different approach would be to store the PDF files in the cloud, then download, print, and delete them on the library computer. Create a throwaway email account someplace like iCloud Mail, then mail the PDFs to that account from your home computer.
 
Last edited:

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
1,540
972
Sweden
The only media I know of with a write-protect switch is SD cards. An SD-to-USB adapter could work. It would, however, have to honor the write-protect switch on the card. Many adapters will do this, but some don't.

Another option would be burning a CD or DVD with the files. Then there's no chance of transferring anything back.

EDIT

A completely different approach would be to store the PDF files in the cloud, then download, print, and delete them on the library computer. Create a throwaway email account someplace like iCloud Mail, then mail the PDFs to that account from your home computer.
I wasn't very clear, apparently they only allow USB memories.
But SD-to-USB sounds nifty.
 

chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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I wasn't very clear, apparently they only allow USB memories.
But SD-to-USB sounds nifty.
SD-to-USB is much smaller, but many CD or DVD drives will plug into a USB port. They may or may not need drivers; it depends on what version of Windows is installed, and what the specific drive hardware is.
 
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