USB sticks containing harmful malware are being posted through doors in Australia, police in Victoria have warned.

Residents in the Melbourne suburb of Pakenham have reported finding the memory sticks in their letterboxes, and now police have warned that those who plugged them into their computers have “experienced fraudulent media streaming services offers, as well as other malware”.

USB stick
(Matthew Baker/PA)

 

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The devices have been used in the past to carry and deliver viruses to computers, and have been referred to by cybersecurity experts as “critically flawed”. They have been shown to be able to infect almost any computer without its knowledge.

However, a recent study from the University of Illinois found that more than half of nearly 300 USB sticks that were randomly placed around the campus were picked up and placed into machines, suggesting public wariness is not as high as it should be.

USB sticks
(State of Victoria Police)

 

According to the study, had the sticks involved been infected, the “attack” would have had an estimated success rate of between 45% and 98%, the university said.

Australian police have issued an image of drives similar to those used in the scam and have urged the public to avoid plugging them into PCs or any other devices.

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