Can The Peripherals I Attach To My Computer Pose A Security Risk?

The one thing that you have to love about this age of computing is how much easier everything is as far as computers go.

When I say that they are much easier, I mean that the machines are faster, that they are able to get data out much quicker across the country and so many other things that they are able to do better.

Not many people who use a computer would want to go back to the time before all of this was available on their systems.

But there is a price for all of this new technology that is around now.

For every new advancement we have to pay a cost.

With the rise of the industrial age came the pollution of our air and rivers and this cost is no different.

We now have to worry about our security because of some of the devices that we use every day.

peripheral risk

peripheral risk

The computer itself has a bunch of security holes in it but for the most part they are addressed by having the right software installed on the machine.

What about the peripherals that are attached to the computer itself though?

How are these problems addressed?

I will take a look at some of the security problems that can happen when you attach objects to the computer and what can be done to help secure these infractions.

Once you know that there is a problem then it will be easier for you to be able to fix it.

My Printer

The one big major advance in printer technology over the past couple of years has been the fact that the printers can now be wireless.

They can have their own IP address and then they are able to hook up to the router themselves and all of the computers on the network can access them.

Some printers have to be hooked up to a main computer first and then be accessed by other computers in the house.

The security problem lies in printers that are in the former category; the ones that have access directly to the router and all of the computers can access them.

There have been many hackers that have hacked a network and hid their wares in printers such as these – it is something that has been going on since these types of printers were first available.

A lot of these printers have little pockets of memory that can be used to store data.

They are usually not that big but enough to store most software that the hacker could use against the other computers on the network.

Even the most harden security expert sometimes forgets to check the printers on a network.

If you are running a network and you are the security guy, or you are in charge of making sure that the security guy does his job, then make sure that all of this is checked.

Your security is only as strong as your weakest link and in this case it is the printer.

The Thumb Drive

Now that they are so affordable you are starting to see thumb drives everywhere.

These are the little devices that allow you to take your data with you no matter where you go.

These devices are very useful and people love to carry them around on their key chains.

The fact is that these same people forget that they are carrying a device that can both transmit and store data and that can be very dangerous to a network.

The data that is on a thumb drive is just like the data on a hard drive and if you execute the wrong piece of data then your computer and the rest of the network can become infected.

If you want to stop a device like this from infecting your computer then you must make sure that you take the proper precautions on your network.

The best advice that you can have is that you do not let anyone to hook up devices such as these.

If you do then you are taking a serious chance that they will not bring something in on the device and then allow it to run amuck on the network.

If you are going to allow such devices on the network then you must make sure that the antivirus software on each computer runs a scan on devices that are plugged into the system.

That way there will be no problem in that data harming the overall system.

The DVD/CD Disk

The same rule as the thumb drives can be applied with the CD/DVD devices as well – it can carry the same kind of danger that the thumb drive does.

The only difference is that once the harmful data is burned to the DVD it is most likely going to stay there.

If something goes wrong with one of these disks the best bet is just to throw it away.

The items that you hook into your computer and onto your network can be very dangerous.

Make sure that you are very careful when it comes to the policies of such devices.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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