US security firm Malwarebytes has invented a USB stick that IT staff can plug into any PC to automate the process of finding, logging and cleaning up a range of malware.

Called Techbench, the product is a key-shaped USB flash drive designed to get around the need to install software on every system being inspected for malware.  Simply plugging in the drive starts the scanning process which can be left to complete on its own before a log file is saved.

The drive can be moved from PC to PC, saving the results for each in a separate folder. Quarantined files are saved on the drive itself. If necessary, Techbench can work in an automated mode to clean up and reboot a system without an admin having to be present.

What’s on the drive? The drive contains Malwarebytes own antivirus software plus a protection system called Chameleon used to force a scan even when malware is trying to block its operation.

“Techbench is made by technicians, for technicians. As an IT support worker, there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with an endless line of computers infected with stubborn malware, each needing a different type of fix,” said Malwarebytes CEO, Marcin Kleczynski.

“Techbench will address this problem by providing something which can simply be plugged in and automatically remove the problem. Hopefully, it will make the lives of computer technicians that little bit better.”      

As a former tech support person, Kleczynski had come up with the idea himself after spending “many hours fixing infected computers at his local PC repair shop, even though they already had AV software installed.”

The onboard software could be configured to automatically update itself, he said.

Techbench is on sale for $399.95 for a year’s license.

That is perhaps the one slight disadvantage of putting a scanning engine on a hardware device; the buyer becomes fully invested. Maintaining the investment requires buying a new license each year.

Equally, that one device can over time be used to protect significant numbers of machines without the need to license or install software on each machine. The savings from such flexibility suggest it could find takers among security teams.