Originally Posted by bradful
Is it possible to contract a virus onto your windows hard drive when using a live cd? Say you visit the most infected site on the web that performs a dozen drive-by downloads, or if you insert a flash drive with a ton of infected files, could that some how find its way to your hard drive?
This depends on the involved pieces. The most complex and modern your OS is the greatest the chances to get an infection you will get because of a simple reason: modern desktops tend to do things behind the hood without you noticing it.
Of course, this depends on both the browser and how it is configured.
The chance however is that, as said, the malware will probably not run under linux. However windows has some autoplay features. I have no idea what the reach of the problem is, but a script that can store a file can also store contents on the autoplay scripts on the same device, so bear that in mind. I am no expert in windows at all but a file is just that, a file. If windows has autoplay turned then everything is possible.
A quick check with clamav from linux can reveal the menace before you plug the pen again on windows, preventing the whole problem.