Why Are Unknown USB Sticks a Security Risk?

USB Stick Risk

USB drives have been around for a few decades, and they’ve been a small but significant part of how companies operate and share information. They allowed for easy file-sharing before WiFi and they let you carry around your most important files and in-progress projects before cloud-based storage or easy-access online portfolios. But there is an increasing number of reasons to discourage your employees and service providers from using them.

They’re big enough to hold programs that do significant damage.

It doesn’t take much code to have a hostile program make unwanted changes on your business devices. Security programs have added additional protections that mean malware and viruses need to have more features and routines, but even that added bulk is easy enough to get around with today’s USB sticks and the incredible amount of data they can hold. Even just plugging them in without downloading or opening files can cause a virus to spread, so make a company policy against their usage.

Copied files can’t be secured.

Cloud-based storage and network-wide folders aren’t just more convenient than USB sticks: they’re far more secure. Through intranets and online portals, system administrators can check who has access to varying files, who has downloaded copies, and more. But once files are downloaded to USB sticks, that insight is gone. People can share, sell, or lose those copies without oversight.

They bypass a lot of security features.

Your company’s email client almost certainly has virus protection that scans attachments, and your actual devices probably have an overlapping suite of malware detection programs that prevent suspicious downloads and block unfriendly sites. But security against USB drives is fairly spotty, especially if your employees don’t know what to watch out for.

Make getting rid of USB usage a priority for 2018. With the online solutions and file-sharing available, it’s no longer necessary, and with Whole I.T. Solutions, you can introduce procedures that make your company’s cybersecurity tighter.

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