scanning usb sticks for malware

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Probably a dumb question, but what is a safe way to scan usb memory sticks for malware?

I'm doing some cleanups and have come up with almost a dozen usb memory sticks that I have no idea what they contain, and, since I remember that people were getting infected simply by inserting sticks they found in parking lots, I am reluctant to experiment, even with just trying to find what is on the sticks that I have used in the past.

One reason this has become relevant is the need to create a bootable Spinrite drive to run it since I no longer have any easily available floppy drives.

Thanks in advance,

Beverly Howard
You would need to live boot your system from a cd or another usb drive. however just to be extra safe i'd do a physical disconnect of any harddrives if you are using your laptop/workstation. If you have a spare system, using that would be safer to run the checks for the usb drive.
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Yeah, if it could infect you just by connecting it, then there wouldn't be anything you could do... because it might be physically inherent to the device and irremovable by any software means. If you really don't know where it came from or what it's been through, there is really no way to be absolutely sure. You could use a cheap computer like a RaspberryPi, as that seems less likely to be a target of any malware... and that would allow you to see the content on the device that you COULD modify/manage... but that still won't make it safe if it's got mal-firmware (or worse.)
I would plug the USB flash drives into a Chromebook running in Guest Mode. If there is malware, you are protected. Copy off any files you want to the Chromebook and re-format the flash drives from the Chromebook.