US electronics retailer Best Buy has been forced to remove all Insignia-manufactured digital photo frames after it was discovered that the photo frames had been infected with computer viruses.

So now it’s not just our computers that risk being infected by worms and malware, but removable drives too. This highlights how important it is to be wary about plugging your removable storage drives and memory cards into unknown computers as they can easily be infected by worms and malware.

Security firm McAfee has issued some simple tips on how to avoid having your computer infected by a virus. The tips include disabling the Windows AutoPlay feature on your computer, using up-to-date anti-malware software and making sure it is turned on and set to scan removable drives.

Manual scan for malware

You can also manually scan the entire drive after first connecting it with autoplay disabled. If the scan comes up clean, you’re all set to go without having to worry about compromising your computer’s security.

McAfee added that recent malware reports warn about computer-style infections on batches of external hard drives, MP3 players, USB drives and GPS units. Everything your computer considers a hard drive (including SD cards, mobile phones, certain toys, CDs and DVDs) can potentially be infected by worms. Some of these have been designed explicitly to infect removable media, McAfee said.

The infected Insignia digital photo frames at Best Buy were most likely infected at the manufacturing stage. During the quality control check stage, the frames are tested to make sure they work properly. This involves plugging them into a computer, so it is highly likely that someone used an infected computer to carry this out.

Of course, as a consumer it is difficult to protect yourself from mishaps such as the Insignia one. Our advice, again, is to always make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up-to-date and enabled, and be wary of unknown storage devices.