a metal usb drive sitting on top of a laptop computer

It is not uncommon to find random USB flash drives lying around the office. Even with the use of cloud storage in everyday life, USB drives are so convenient and can come in handy. The negative aspect of these USB drives is you don’t know what is on them until you plug them into your computer. Sometimes, the contents saved on the drive can mess up your day.

USB Drives Can Be a Gateway for Malware to Enter Your Network

When access to the Internet is unavailable, hackers tend to choose USB drives to introduce malware to one’s network. Due to the “plug and play features,” USB flash drives can be used with most, if not all, network-connected endpoints. The Stuxnet worm targeted unsecured devices with operating systems between Windows 2000 through Windows 7. This worm was so malicious that it took down 20% of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. The facilities were not connected to the Internet; therefore, it is assumed that the threat was introduced through a USB drive.

USB flash drives can also be utilized to introduce remote access to those in other network systems. Hackers can also attempt to steal credentials or additional important information. Ransomware can also be used to shut systems down to prevent people from getting their work done. Simply plugging a USB drive into a device can compromise the entire system. You or members of your team can spread malware without knowing.

Another kind of threat is known as the “USB killer,” which is a device that can also infect the hardware aspect. The USB killer is basically a drive that discharges power to a connected device, damaging the device’s hardware. These types of threats do not introduce malware to the corresponding network but can cause other issues, such as irreparable damage that may result in replacing the entire system. 

What Can Be Done About This?

The best way to prevent these kinds of attacks is actually quite simple but requires two parts:

First, people need to understand that these types of threats really exist. Acknowledging that USB drives can introduce malware to a system will make you more conscious in the future. Sometimes, this is not enough.

People should also apply the knowledge they learned to real life. Employees who know about these threats and still continue to use random USB flash drives can be an issue for the entire company. Ensure that all team members know not to insert USB drives left lying around. Following up with IT security training can also be very helpful for the organization.

We Can Help Protect Your Business

4 Corner IT can work with you and your company to ensure that the entire team has the knowledge and training to understand the dangers of using known and unknown USB flash drives on the company network. We can also remotely monitor your network for suspicious activity and make sure to address it appropriately. 

To learn more about what we can do for your business, contact us at 954.474.2204.

Contact Us Today!

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