So it finally happened--something I didn't even know could happen. I have a memory card reader in my laptop and frequently at events that I'm staffing, I'm offloading photos from a variety of memory cards as participants choose to share their photos with our organization. It never even crossed my mind that memory cards could carry viruses on them.
However, this weekend, I popped someone's memory card into my laptop and suddenly got messages I shouldn't have been getting and all sorts of random things happening. Fortunately, I have a boatload of virus protection, anti-spyware, and other protective programs loaded and after running a few scans, was able (I hope) to nip the problem in the bud.
This morning, I put my own camera memory card into my laptop to finish offloading my own photos from the weekend and there, lo and behold, was the file name of the thing that I think had caused the problems in the first place. I had used my own memory card after I'd used hers--so it looks like the virus hopped from her card onto my laptop and back onto my card. Fortunately, scans had already taken care of it and I was able to delete it--but I'm thinking it's time to get a new memory card. And I'm going to do another complete virus scan again today just to be sure.
So, fair warning: be careful of camera memory cards from other people. They're basically mini-flash drives and I'm surprised I'd never thought of that before. I did a little googling and it's reportedly quite rare that memory cards cause problems, but they obviously can! From now on, I'm not accepting anyone's memory cards anymore. There are other, safer ways for folks to send us photos so I'll just have to rely on their memories to do so!