Today's Threats and Solutions for USB Storage Devices

Computers & TechnologySite Security

  • Author Rajana Zein
  • Published July 16, 2013
  • Word count 586

USB products have been in market since 2000. The ever-growing nature of personal and business data, has led to exponential demand of USB flash drives and external hard disks. From ordinary people to large organizations, all rely on USB drives to keep, transfer and receive documents, pictures, videos and so on.

The main reason for popularity of these devices is that they are light, small and inexpensive. A few years ago, it was hard to believe that with a piece of hardware half the size of a bank card, one could hold thousands of documents and pictures right in their pocket. It is worth mentioning that a typical 8 GB USB flash drive has enough space to keep more than 15000 photos (500 KB average photo size). In response to this high demand market, manufacturers strive to produce devices with greater storage space, faster transfer rates and lower costs. For example, a 1 TB USB drive will be available during 2013.

USB flash drives use a common standard, which is supported by all modern operating systems, called USB mass storage. As a result, anyone can connect one of them to a Mac, copy some files, and conveniently connect it to a Windows based machine to access those files.

So, are we going to conclude that they have no disadvantages? Absolutely not. They have a lot to offer, but they all have one problem in common: they are dangerous!

Antivirus companies report than the AutoRun feature in Microsoft Windows is still among top ten threats. This feature helps programs that are meant to run automatically when a USB drive is connected to a PC, but obviously a malware can be easily executed by it. Most computer viruses copy themselves to removable USB disks, and sometimes, this is their main method of spreading. When a virus, or any other type of malware gets onto a USB disk, there is a high chance that other systems using that USB drive get infected too.

Moreover, USB drives, because of high capacity relative to their small size, are the first choice if someone wants to steal valuable or confidential data. Companies and businesses are at risk when employees can duplicate corporate documents on USB drives and take them outside the office. One study showed that the average cost of a data breach, can be as high as $2.5 million. And this is not only for companies. Every individual has private files, or even projects on their computer, with doors open to intruders.

There must exist some sort of solution to avoid these threats. In today's software world, there are a few applications that can help everybody secure their USB ports. But not every software solution, is eligible to increase the security of your PCs at home and work. You should be looking for a software that solves above-mentioned problems, has excellent technical support, and gets updated regularly with new features. There are free solutions around, but they all lack some point or another. They are usually written for hobby, and not from a 'professional' viewpoint.

A wise option is USB Security Suite. It has everything you need to protect your PCs from USB-related threats. USB Security Suite automatically scans any USB disk attached to a computer to prevent viruses from spreading. It can also vaccinate your USB drives, so that they never get infected by other computers. If you need to know what activities (copy, rename, delete, etc.) happen on USB drives of your system, USB Security Suite can monitor and log them. Data theft protection made easy.

Rajana is working as a security expert for

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