Are You Prepared for USB-Based Attacks?

USB drives are great for storing, backing up and transporting data, but these innocent looking devices pose a huge threat to businesses large and small. Thumb drives may be perfect for storing data, but they can also store viruses and malware – threats that could wreak havoc on an otherwise well protected business.

If your business has not taken steps to protect against USB-based attacks, your network security plan is not complete. Now is the time to address these issues – you never know when the next attack will come.

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The Little-Known Risk of USB Attacks

USB-based attacks have been on the rise, yet many businesses still fail to protect against them. The tiny size of the USB drive, combined with the unsuspecting nature of a USB attack requires you to give this cyber threat a second look. The theft of sensitive data via thumb drive has become a recognizable plot in movies, but there is nothing make believe about this threat.

USB drives are great for storing, backing up and transporting data, but these innocent looking devices pose a huge threat to businesses large and small. Thumb drives may be perfect for storing data, but they can also store viruses and malware – threats that could wreak havoc on an otherwise well protected business.

If your business has not taken steps to protect against USB-based attacks, your network security plan is not complete. Now is the time to address these issues – you never know when the next attack will come.

USB-based attacks have been on the rise, yet many businesses still fail to protect against them. The tiny size of the USB drive, combined with the unsuspecting nature of a USB attack requires you to give this cyber threat a second look. The theft of sensitive data via thumb drive has become a recognizable plot in movies, but there is nothing make believe about this threat.

Vigilance is the Best Defense

As with all things cyber, eternal vigilance is the best defense against USB-based attacks. Awareness is a critical first step, and once you know how these attacks work, it will be easier to guard against them.

USB-based attacks can take many forms and experts have identified nearly 30 different varieties. But you don’t need to know the technical details to keep your network safe – here are the basics about USB-based attacks.

  • Attacks may reprogram the USB drive, turning it into a powerful weapon for data theft and destruction.
  • Hackers can use malware to reprogram the firmware on the USB drive
  • USB drives can introduce malware, including keyloggers that steal passwords from corporate networks and personal computers
  • Thumb drives are a popular tool for corporate espionage and industrial spying
  • Some recent ransomware attacks were enabled by compromised USB devices
  • Infections made possible by USB-based attacks can spread quickly, often via shared or public computers

USB drives are everywhere, and it is a good bet that employees within your organization are using these devices every day. They may use thumb drives to store family photos, backup their home computers, and play their favorite tunes. But without the right security, viruses and malware could easily slip in, putting your entire network, and all the data it contains, at risk.

How to Stay Safe from USB-Based Attacks

So how do you protect your network and the data it contains from infected USB drives and insider threats? Here are some tips to keep your devices safe from harm.

  • Start by establishing strict guidelines on the use of USB drives. Prohibiting the use of personal USB drives and enforcing the policy is a critical first step when guarding against this growing threat.
  • Raise awareness among your staff. Many workers are unaware of the dangers USB drives can pose, so incorporate this information throughout all your security and network training.
  • Block access to USB ports for most users. Your IT staff may need access to USB devices, but front-line workers should be blocked from using them.
  • Electronically lock or otherwise disable USB drives at the source. Using system policy to disable USB access can make your network more secure and mitigate the threats posed by infected devices.
  • Make sure your antivirus software is up to date, and that all of your scans include connected USB devices.
  • Scan your network regularly for unsupported devices, including illicit thumb drives. The use of unapproved devices should be addressed immediately, and may require follow-up training and disciplinary action.

Protecting Yourself Inside the Office – and Out

Taking steps to protect your business at the office is important, but what about when you (or your employees) are on the road?

Public computers, such as those at local libraries and hotel business centers are popular sources of USB-based infections, and it is important to stay vigilant no matter where you are.

Protecting the company network is everyone’s responsibility, and USB-based attacks are a growing threat. Infected thumb drives can harbor viruses, spread malware and enable ransomware demands. If your company is not taking proactive steps to protect against USB-based attacks, now is the perfect time to start.

The danger of USB-based attacks is one more reason to make the move to Office 365.

When you switch to Office 365 and access your data from the cloud, you can bypass those dangerous USB drives and access your files more securely – no more external devices that are easy to compromise, and no more worries about USB-based attacks.

Contact Information

Ontech Systems

N85W16186

Appleton Ave
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

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Ontech Systems, Inc

Greater Milwaukee IT Support
N85W16186 Appleton Ave
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Hours: M-F 8am-5pm

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