The Dangers Of USB Sticks

Do you carry around a USB flash drive on your keychain?

Well, if you are like millions of other people these days, you probably do. And there is a good reason for that – they are still very useful devices, even in the age of cloud computing. You are able to save the data from a someone else’s computer and put it on your own with ease. Most USB devices will slip on a computer in a matter of seconds and without the installation of driver software. You can also take data from your computer and slip it on someone else’s computer no matter what operating system they are using.

That is why everyone who does any kind of work with a computer these days has a USB disk drive on their keychain or in their pocket.USB-key

But some people do not realise the danger they are facing when they use their USB disk drive.

They are facing dangers from both foreign entities on their computer and someone being able to see all of their personal information.

How many times have you lost your keys in the past year? How many times have you lost anything of value in the past year?

As humans we lose things all of the time. Some people lose items more than others but we all tend to lose things. And that is exactly what can happen if you walk around with the USB disk drive on your keychain or in your pocket. You can easily lose this drive and someone else can find it and see all of the data that is on there.

No-one wants that to happen but it is a common occurrence. If you are going to walk around with important or potentially embarrassing data on a disk drive then you should make sure you have some sort of encryption method on the drive.

But your best bet is to not walk around with the drive all of the time. If something important is on the drive then make sure thats all that is on there and only take it with you when you absolutely need to – less important data can go on another drive if you need to keep it close to hand. These days the drives are so cheap that segregating your data in this way will hardly break the bank.

Careless data loss is not the only way that these drives can pose a danger though. As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest advantages of using these drives is the fact that you are able to place them in other people’s computers and they will work in an instant. You are able to transfer files back and forth and use them when you need them.

While that is useful, you should also be able to see a problem with that as well. If it is simple to transfer innocent files on these types of drives then it will be equally easy to transfer malicious filestoo. And that means the files can be transferred to your computer or from your computer to someone else’s very easily. You can infect another computer without even knowing it. When a government agency wants to infect a computer that is not on the internet they do it through the use of USB drives most of the time (allegedly). That is because they are set on autoplay when they are plugged into the USB port.

USB drives are great devices and their use isn’t necessarily to be discouraged. But you have to be very careful with them. You cannot just put them anywhere and forget them. This is especially true if they have important data on them. No, you have to watch over them and make sure they are safe from prying eyes.

photo: molotalk

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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