You plug in your flash drive (memory card/ external hard disk/ any other external memory) and you see that all of a sudden all of your files are gone.
But wait; the drive it is not empty as space is still occupied. Then you looked if they are hidden in the drive. You find hidden files however they are not your files but shortcuts with your files original names.
Then you looked if they are hidden in the drive. You find hidden files however they are not your files but shortcuts with your files original names.
If you click them (do not click them if you are not infected) it takes you to the original file. If your scenario is similar to this then there is a strong chance that PC and connected flash drives of yours are infected by Shortcut Virus.
What is Shortcut Virus (Cool.vbs)
Shortcut virus is a Latent Trojan Virus which is a form of ‘autorun.inf’ worm and it uses the ‘autorun’ vulnerability of a computer.
It is called Latent Trojan Virus by nature because can be affected under the nose of your antivirus, Then it places itself in the computer’s processes which you cannot stop and affecting files in memory drives both internal and external.
It is also called ‘cool.vbs’ by many because you will find a file named ‘cool.vbs’ in the affected drives. For seeing it turn on the ‘show hidden file’ option in the folders option on windows and/or use ‘WINRAR’ software.
How Shortcut Virus is Infected my Computer and Flash Drives
Let’s see the possible ways of being affected by Shortcut Virus;
- Shortcut Virus spreads from an infected computer and an infected external drive, i.e. pen drives, flash drives, CD/DVD, Memory and SD cards, external hard disk, even from your phone’s internal memory connected to your PC by a data cable. It can spread from created ISO disk images too.
- If you connect your external drives or if they are already connected to an infected computer, those external drives will automatically be infected.
- If you plug-in an infected external memory drive and if you do not use precautions before copy from it then will infect your computer to anonymously.
- If could come from files that you downloaded from an online cloud and file sharing sites, torrent, email attachment, malware and let’s say not so family friendly websites.
Now that you know how it could spread; let’s see how to permanently delete and remove the shortcut virus.
To get rid of it completely from your life, you have to remove the shortcut virus from both the PC and external drives.
How to Remove Shortcut Virus from Your Computer
- Go to this location of your computer:
- Look for “wscript.exe” file and delete it.
If you can’t delete this file then use a third party software. I suggest you use ‘Unlocker‘ and install it. Use unlocker to delete ‘wscript.exe’.
- Removing “wscript.exe” will remove shortcut virus from your PC.
If you follow these steps your PC will be free from shortcut virus and will not create any shortcut of main files to your PC or flash drive. Now if you have any flash drive containing shortcut virus please you must check below.
How to Remove Shortcut Virus from any Flash Drive
- First, insert your flash drive.
- Go to start and search for.
- Right-click on it and click ‘Run as administrator’.
- In the command prompt (cmd.exe) write with the spaces:
attrib -h -r -s /s /d f:*.*In the place of
fwrite your flash drive’s drive letter and make sure that spaces exist between each element in this code, as displayed below in the example.
- After that close the command prompt.
- Press Enter
After these, your flash drive will be free from shortcut virus. Go the flash drive you will still see the shortcuts with the main files. If you click on any on of them you will see a message like this.
Now that you are free from shortcut virus to let’s see how you prevent your PC from being infected.
How to Protect Your Computer and Flash Drives from Shortcut Virus
Right after doing these; if you are not careful, your PC might get affected by this again. Here are some few tips to keep yourself safe; there’s more you can do. You should:-
- Turn off autorun on your computer.
- Use an updated version of your antivirus.
- Always scan flash drive immediately after connecting them to your PC.
- Do not use unsafe and pirated CD/DVDs.
- Browse safely on the internet with internet protection tools.
Follow the instructions here properly and you will clearly get rid of shortcut virus from you PC, and flash drive.