Whenever I look up guides on how to securely download an OS and install it on a computer, the very first step is to extract it on a USB, and then forward. I find this to be the most overlooked part, as the flash drive could possibly contain a malware, and could infect my whole OS without me ever knowing about it, even if the chance of it is small, its still there.
Now the answer to my problem is simple, buy a new non-infected one. But how do I make sure it’s safe? There are so many brands out there, which one am I suppose to choose? And when I’ve narrowed down it, how do I make sure that it’s not a replica as is common with storage devices these days? And if a company pre-installs its software, which I’ll treat same as a malware, how do I format without it ever interacting with my computer?
The solution that I’m seeing right now is just ditch USB and use SD Card that camera people use, format it two time from computer and two times from a phone and use it through a card reader as the bootloader. But then how do I make sure the integrity of both of those, especially that of card reader?
I know that I’m overthinking this a lot, and that once I’ve formatted the flash drive, it should be safe to use. But this has been lingering in the back of mind for a while, to the point I’ve stopped owning any flash drives. Though, same could be argued for any storage devices, but the amount of malware that I’ve personally witnessed and have seen on the internet have mostly been on flash drives compared to other storage devices, which eases my mind a bit, and there is also the fact that there are way more established brands for say SSDs compared to a flash drives which are often counterfeit too. And now that I’m about to reinstall my OS which I haven’t done in years, I need to make sure that I install things as securely as possible. So if any of could guide me through this, I’d much appreciate it. (Sorry for the schizo/tinfoil fedora ramble)