This story is not about the fact one of our Linux CentOS 5.x Mailman servers got a root kit virus. And this is not a story about how we are still — almost done — recovering it. No, this is a story about choices in flash memory, USB flash drives, or whatever you call those little “sticks” that get stuck into USB slots. No, this is a story about one brand flash memory working and another not.
First, the system is an older Dell Powerdge server, quite good hardware in its day, with a CD drive and either USB 1.0 or 1.1. I purchased without worrying about brand two PNY 16GB memory sticks. Our goal was to extract as many Mailman files off the infected system and then run through a virus checker. There was just one problem. The rsync kept failing; the system froze; had to be rebooted; the memory stick reformatted; and then copies done one at a time.
Eventually, we, just as a fallback and thinking it might not work but would not hurt purchased Patriot XPorter XT Boost 16GB flash drives. Over this weekend, the copies did not fail. The system did not freeze up, and technically the old system was still infected, despite our fixing some of it, so it could boot and keep running.
A new version of CentOS is installed along with a new version of Mailman, due to a large part, a better USB flash drive.