External storage devices such as USB drives, hard disks, SD cards, or Flash drives are most widely used to transfer our data from one machine to another. Often, when we connect these external storage devices to an infected machine and pass any file, an unknown malware immediately infects them and we get an error message to open any file. This malware is known as 'Shortcut Virus' which converts each file to a shortcut. Shortcut Virus is a program that spreads via flash drives, the internet, third party applications, etc., and produces a duplicate of your original files and directories.
This means that when you click on the files you want to open, the shortcut virus will multiply and install even more viruses and malicious software. The reasoning behind your folder being a shortcut is that this virus hides your original folders / files in the same removable media and generates a shortcut with the same name. This shortcut virus is so smart that even most portable antivirus software is unable to detect it. Or if they somehow find or uninstall it, it somehow manages to restore itself.
Types of Shortcut Virus:
Shortcut Virus has two types; the most common is Flash Drive Shortcut Virus, followed by File and Folder Shortcut Virus.
1. Flash Drive Shortcut Virus
This is a pure Trojan virus; it consolidates every file on your portable devices and places it in one secret folder. Then it provides a shortcut for Flash Disk.exe. It's going to give you no choice but to press it to see your files. When executed, the virus will start downloading malicious applications on your device that will spy on your computer routine and most likely steal your personal information if not detected.
2. File and Folder Shortcut Virus
It is a mix of Trojan and Worm, which will clone your files and directories, cover and replace them with shortcuts.exe, shortcuts.vbs, etc. Also, you won't have any choices but click it to open your files and directories. Once executed, the virus begins to replicate and install malicious software to spy on your computer routine and steal your valuable data.
Methods to Remove Shortcut Virus from Pendrive/SD Card/Flash drive/Hard disk:
Method 1: Remove Shortcut virus using CMD
Using Command Prompt to Remove Virus and Recover Files is the safest and easiest way as you do not need to download any Virus Remover Shortcut Tool for it. And with this process, there are more possibilities for removing the virus.
First open command prompt. Go to Start > Run > type ‘cmd’ and then hit enter.
Now, enter the name of the drive in which virus is located (e.g. “f:” or “h:”) and hit enter.
Then type this the following command in cmd and hit “enter”
“attrib f:*.* /d /s -h -r -s” or attrib-h-r-s/s/d f:\*.* (Where f is the Drive Label).
Wait for the process to finish and this will fix the shortcut virus problem with your Pen Drive.
METHOD 2: Remove Shortcut Virus using Virus Remover Tools
This method is helpful if you don’t want to do manual tweaks to remove the shortcut virus.
First Download Shortcut Virus Remover Software from here.
Extract it using Winrar or any other file decompressor.
Then run the Shortcut Virus Remover software and make sure that you run it on your flash drive.
Choose the drive from which you want to remove the virus(ex. E:, F:, G:). Then just click on Scan button.
Wait until the scan is complete and press ‘Enter.’ It will list all the shortcut virus in a drive.
Now just click on delete button, it will remove shortcut virus from your PC.
How to Remove Shortcut Virus from Your PC
After you have successfully deleted the Shortcut Virus and reinserted the Pendrive / Hard Disk, however, if you're seeing those shortcut files, the issue is with your PC. So, first, you will clean your PC and protect from insertion of any of your storage devices. You have a variety of options for this. You can download any antivirus software and run it on your computer to remove the virus shortcut.
Avast is one of the best Shortcut Virus Remover. Just install Avast Antivirus and do a Boot Time Scan, following this will remove all the virus in boot Time.‘Microsoft Security Essentials for Window PC’ also works well.
How to Permanently Remove Shortcut Virus from Computer
Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc and go to process tab.
Look for the process exe or any other such process and right-click then select ‘End Task.’
Press Windows Key + R then type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
Navigate to the following registry key:
Look for the registry key “odwcamszas.exe” and right-click then select It’s possible that you won’t find the exact same key but look for junk values which don’t do anything.
Reboot your PC to save changes.
Tips to Avoid Shortcut Virus
Unfortunately, not all antivirus will detect this kind of virus. So, the best thing you can do is make it a habit not to open your portable devices or external devices through autorun or "my computer." Otherwise, just disable Autorun, so that Pendrive won't run automatically. Open your Pen drive or hard disk by right-clicking it, then press explore or type your drive letter in the windows address bar to prevent any script from running.
Scan for virus and then use the Pendrive
Don’t use Pendrive in Public PC’s
Don’t use Harmful websites
Keep your Antivirus up to date