Back in 2010, I wrote about a nifty trick by which you can secretly copy files and folders from preconfigured locations on the target computer to a USB drive without the owner knowing - a trick Bradley Manning would have been proud of. Understandably, there is quite a buzz of activity in the comments following the article. Some of the commenters wanted to know if the direction of flow of data could be reversed while maintaining the same level of secrecy.
It might be possible to accomplish this using a simple file backup program that periodically checks the USB drive for new files, and if found, copies it to a directory on your hard drive. But it’s not foolproof. Today, I discovered a better solution – using a free program called USB Spy.
USB Spy is a spying program that automatically and silently copies the content of a USB Flash drive to the hard disk when it attached to the computer. The file copying begins soon after the Flash drive is inserted. No further coaxing or button click or any user interaction is required. There is also no notification of any kind when the copying operation starts and completes. The entire thing is stealthy and very sneaky.
To make this work, you have to make sure that USB Spy is running before the thumb/pen drive is inserted, and that you have specified where you want the contents to be copied in your hard drive.
You can then hide your program which will remove the program icon from the taskbar. You can still see it running using Task Manager or any other process viewer. There is also a hotkey combination to bring up the program window but I didn’t have any luck with that one.
The contents of the USB drives are copied to the target directory and neatly organized into folders with date and size stamp. Here is the how the target directory might appear after 4 different thumb drives were connected at different times.