Tuesday, 25 November 2014 04:19

How To Use Removable Media Securely

Written by Duane Lansdowne
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Have you ever asked yourself or said the following about using USB drives or any other removable media?

Removable media, such as thumb drives, CD's etc... can be reprogrammed to steal the contents of anything written to the drive and to spread modifying malware, viruses or code to any computer it touches. The result could be a self-replicating virus that spreads throughout your computer or computer network much like viruses that spread by floppy disk decades ago.

Q: But I don't transfer data back and forth. I would never load my data onto a work computer.

A: Within seconds of plugging in a USB cable, the computer and device start exchanging information. It's during this "handshake" period that a virus or malware can begin its work and infect any computer network. This data transfer may introduce a cross-domain violation or the introduction of malicious data onto your network.

Q: But where would my portable device get a virus?

A: The Internet, Bluetooth vulnerabilities, infected media, other USB charging locations... and the list is nearly endless. Not only is your device at risk of getting a virus, so are the business systems to which you are connecting on a daily basis.

Q: But I'm just using a little power, what's the harm?

A: Anything that plugs into your computer USB ports can not only draw power, but can also transfer data. USB provides both capabilities.


Here are some helpful tips to properly use removable media and how to secure your computer network.

Educate Users

Many users are not aware of the potential dangers from removable media such as USBís drives and CDís that spread malware and cause data loss. Educating staff helps reduce that risks significantly.

Identify device types

Computer interact with a growing variety of removable media including USB drives, MP3 players and smartphones. Having visibility of what removable media is attempting to connect to your business computer network can help you set appropriate restrictions or permissions.

Implement device control

Controlling the type of removable media that is permitted and what data is allowed to be exchanged is a vital component of your business network security. Choose solutions that can set permissions (or restrictions) for individual devices as well as entire classes of devices.

Encrypt your data

Data encryption prevents the loss of data. That is particularly useful for removable media that can be easily misplaced or stolen because the data cannot be viewed or copied by unauthorized third parties.



Last modified on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 14:13

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