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Dangers of Sharing: USB Drives

Dangers of Sharing: USB Drives

What Your Technology Could Cost Your Small Business

It’s easy to be nonchalant about the world we live in. Post 9/11, some dangers just don’t seem as… dangerous. Things could always be worse. But, in truth, most of us are naïve about the dangers around us and how fragile everything can be. I’m not trying to go too deep, I just want you to think of all of the technology you use and handle on a daily basis. We tend to take for granted the security of our devices, but in truth there are many ways to have your world turned upside down.

Its smaller things we use every day that we don’t see as threats. In the case of flash drives German security researchers, Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell plan to produce their discovery next week at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that USB devices don’t just have a tendency to become infected, but are in fact produced initially with major security flaws. Now you’re wondering exactly what all of this means. Basically, Nohl and Lell installed some malware called BadUSB that can take over a PC completely. Any PC, anywhere; this can include major businesses’ computers or personal hardware. Things like extortion, identity theft and bank fraud are possible with malware like this. It can also alter your online traffic (so that you can easily be spied on, sound familiar?) and change files without your knowledge. The kicker is that this does not exist in the storage of the flash drive, but in the USB’s firmware; in its basic design and can be reprogrammed to hide an attack and look like any other device. Things like flash drives should be looked at as non-reusable after it touches another computer, which begs the question; what is the point of using a flash drive? I’ll let that sink in. This does, however, mean that the infection can travel from USB to computer to USB. The possibilities here are truly endless.

Think of all of the things connected to a USB. All of those things can be reprogrammed. This includes keyboards to smartphones and even mice. And, yes, all of those were tested as well. Scared, yet? Unfortunately in the world we live in, there are always bigger sharks out there and your USB security isn’t close to number one on your list. But, before you let a stranger charge their phone on your laptop, consider this: everything on your computer could be in their grasp. Is that something you want to take lightly? I didn’t think so.

Now, more than ever, it is important to take control and protect what little we can. Becoming more knowledgeable on who can attack you and how can give you that edge that you may one day be glad you had.

Since these kinds of reprogramming aren’t viruses, there is not any software in the world that can protect you. You have to be smart. You have to know that these devices aren’t invincible and dangers are lurking. You have something everyone wants and it’s your duty to protect it. Be aware of the dangers towards your technology and take the steps to protect you and yours.

This was just a small piece of news that really hit home with me. Its things like that that I want to pass on so that people are aware that their personal information and identities as well as their business information are fragile and you have to be pro-active these days. I will try to continue with posts like this every once in a while so that you can stay on top of your own security. So, remember to be smart out there and stay safe!


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