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Posts Tagged ‘DVD’

Case of the Photo Kiosk Virus

In Digital Photo Kiosks on August 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm
Snapshot of a Front USB port

Image via Wikipedia

I still remember the time when we delivered the first driver and firmware solution for a photo card reader – Smart Media or SSFDC was the media used. The company’s CEO proudly carried it around and tried copying personal pictures from the media to his computer. Something went wrong. Forget the fact that he was unable to copy, he lost all the vacation pictures he already had on his media. We were able to restore the media but not the pictures. Granted it was beta software and hardware but lesson learnt all around. Lessons to be precise – those of Backup and Write-protect.

There is a piece of news originating from Australia that underlines the need for write protection in public kiosks. A FujiFilm kiosk at a BigW store managed to infect a USB thumbdrive with the Trojan.Poison-36 virus. It is possible that the kiosk got infected through a prior user’s medium. This was passed on to subsequent users. It appears to be a costly oversight and it is not clear if it is the store owner or kiosk vendor’s decision to 1) not have write protect feature on and 2) not have anti virus software enabled. I know of some kiosks disabling AVS for thumbdrives to save time. It could be the case here as well.

The customer affected by this issue has posted a blog entry. I really like the comment from one Katie – she works for rival Kodak. Talk about ‘a Kodak moment’.

Truth is I have worked on both FujiFilm and Kodak kiosks in the US and they both have write protect enabled by default. In the case of FujiFilm’s ADPC line of kiosks, the USB front port is often disabled to prevent mischief. For ADPC 5, my team developed a patent pending solution to protect USB front ports from doing anything other than transferring pictures from drive to system. We have also provided a secure solution where selective writes are allowed under certain conditions. The onus is on the system integrators and the store owners to ensure that these protective features are enabled.

Lifehacker gives some simple tips for end users to avoid these issues. Resorting to legacy CD or DVD drives is a good band-aid but time consuming. Using a SD media with its write protect switch enabled (as suggested in one comment) is probably the simplest solution. However, as I’ve noted there, this solution won’t work when there is a genuine requirement to write back to the medium. So, the onus is on having anti virus protection and system supplied write protect solution.